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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.

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Comments on: "Chalk this one up under “Ironic”" (2)

  1. Barack Obama has thrown the LGBT community a lifeline in our time of need and no one seems to be grasping for it.

    After 31 same-sex marriage election defeats in 32 elections, with 45 of 50 states banning same-sex marriage, with 17 states banning civil unions & domestic partnerships our President, still, wants to grant us federal marriage equality. Yes, all 1,138 federal rights of marriage, including joint income tax returns, shared social security benefits and immigration rights.

    The White House web site proclaims proclaims the President believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that all 1,138 federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.

    This means that anyone in the eleven states & Washington D.C. that have same-sex marriage, civil unions or domestic partnership could have full federal marital rights. If Congress words the legislation correctly, this may also mean that if you live in one of the other 39 states you could travel to Massachusetts and get married or to Vermont to get a civil union or to California, Washington or Oregon and sign up as registered domestic partners and have all the federal marital rights even if your home state does not grant you state marital rights.

    However, there are two catches.

    The first is that the federal government will not call these marital rights “marriage.” Indeed, it appears the federal government will not call them anything. Rather, they will simply be recognizing whatever the state calls them, marriage, civil union or domestic partnership.

    The second catch is that we need to work our butts off to help our President fulfill his promise.

    Any president can only sign what Congress passes. We need to start lobbying our current and newly elected Members of Congress to support the President’s pledge for federal marriage equality. This has been made more difficult with the passage of Prop 8 and anti-marriage propositions in Arizona and Florida. But our community has faced long odds before and prevailed. Prior to the marriage lawsuits which brought a tsunami of reactionary electoral defeats outlawing same-sex marriage, we had a strategy that was working. Working through legislative bodies, and not the courts, we successfully passed hundreds of domestic partnership and civil union policies, none of which have ever been directly reversed. Civil unions and domestic partnerships have only been reversed when they were included in anti-same-sex marriage laws. Indeed, the promoters of Prop 8 admitted that they did not try to overturn California’s domestic partnership because they knew they would lose.

    Now President Obama has invited the LGBT community to work for federal marriage equality in our nation’s most important legislative body, the Congress of the United States. He wants us to help him fulfill his pledge to us. But President Obama cannot do this without our help. Equality California has said they want to repeal Prop 8 on the 2010 ballot. This is all well and good. But is this the best use of our time, money and energy at this juncture in our history? Is this the best time to focus on anything else when our new President has a mandate for change NOW?

    President Obama has thrown the LGBT community a lifeline in our hour of need. I hope we have the good sense to grab for it.

  2. […] And regarding those protests, they were weird in light of something I mentioned years ago: […]

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