Same-sex marriage is not recognized in France. However, civil unions are. Civil unions, called a Civil Solidarity Pact, besides being a separate but unequal “marriage substitute” for homosexual couples, allows any two people, including opposite sexed people, to enter into one. It has a number of advantages, including the fact that it is a lot easier to get out of than a marriage. This has resulted in some unintended consequences (hat tip):
The number of PACS [the French acronym of the Civil Solidarity Pact] celebrated in France, both gay and heterosexual unions, has grown from 6,000 in its first year of operation in 1999 to more than 140,000 in 2008, according to official statistics. For every two marriages in France, a PACS is celebrated, the statistics show, making a total of half a million PACS[']ed couples, and the number is rising steadily.
Perhaps more important as an indication of how French people live, the number of heterosexual men and women entering into a PACS agreement has grown from 42 percent of the total initially to 92 percent last year.
In other words, civil unions are threatening marriage, not protecting it. Had same-sex marriage just been allowed, this who civil union stuff would have been unnecessary. That would mean there are more marriages.