By John-Henry Westen

Presidential Candidate Nicholas SarkozyPARIS, June 19, 2006 ( – The battle for the soul of France will take centre stage in April of next year as the country elects a new President to replace Jacques Chirac. According to the most recent polls, the two front-runners are running neck and neck, but represent widely divergent constituencies. One has proposed legalizing homosexual ‘marriage’, while the other has proposed re-examining religion to revitalize hope in the nation.

The latest poll numbers show Nicolas Sarkozy of the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) with 32 per cent support followed closely by Ségolène Royal of the Socialist Party (PS), at 30 per cent. Their nearest competitor is Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front (FN) with 15 per cent, according to a CSA poll published in Marianne.

Royal, the leader of the regional government of Poitou-Charentes, has just announced that if elected President, her party will legalize homosexual ‘marriage’ and homosexual adoption of children. Reporting on an interview with a French homosexual magazine to be published Wednesday, Reuters reveals that Royal said in the interview with Tetu: “Opening up marriage to same-sex couples is needed in the name of equality, visibility and respect.” On adoption she said, “Whether the parents are homosexual or heterosexual, adoption is above all a family project. From the moment a same-sex couple is recognised as a family, this family has the right to conceive of family projects.”

Sarkozy, the French interior minister, has, on the other hand, called for France to repudiate its anti-religious prejudice and look again at a positive relationship between Church and state. In a book-length interview entitled La République, les religions, l’espérance [The Republic, the Religions, and Hope], Sarkozy recalls critically “the preceding generations” that “scorned, despised, and ridiculed priests and friars.”

Moreover he calls for churches to be able to take part in state funds allocated for charitable works. Acknowledging that the Church provides hope, help for the helpless, and is generally a positive force for society, he criticizes those who “think it is natural for the state to finance a soccer field, a library, a theatre, a childcare center; but whenever it is a matter of the needs of a place of worship, the state should not spend so much as a penny.”

For more on Sarkozy see: