France wants to redefine marriage by next year

The French Prime Minster has told his parliament that marriage will be redefined and same-sex adoption brought in by the “first half” of 2013.

Under the previous administration redefining marriage was voted down, but the recent elections saw a change in power with the Socialist Party now holding a majority.

Newly-elected President François Hollande, of the Socialist Party, made an election pledge to redefine marriage.

Opposition

The Westminster Government is ploughing on with plans to redefine marriage – despite it not being in any of the major parties’ manifestos. There has also been massive opposition to the plans.

The French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, told parliament: “In the first half of 2013, the right to marriage and adoption will be open to all couples, without discrimination”.

Last year members of France’s lower house voted 293 to 222 in favour of traditional marriage.

Their decision came after France’s highest court, the Constitutional Council, ruled in favour of the traditional definition of marriage in January 2011.

Backlash

In the UK the Westminster Government has faced a backlash over its plans to redefine marriage.

In May Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson became the first Cabinet Minister to openly oppose the plans.

The Government has also faced opposition from the Church of England which warned that introducing same-sex marriage could trigger a constitutional crisis and end the 500-year link between church and state.

Petition

And the Roman Catholic Church has cautioned that the bid to redefine marriage “risks initiating a social change which, perhaps inadvertently, places the best interests of children to one side in focusing only on the relationship of the couple”.

A grassroots petition organised by the Coalition for Marriage – currently at nearly 600,000 – is also opposing the plans.

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