May 21, 2013 ( – Hours after the French Constitutional Counsel approved the gay ‘marriage’ law, President François Hollande signed it into law together with the prime minister, the minister for Health and Social affaire, Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, and the deputy minister for the family.

Symbolically, the law, known as the “Taubira law” after Minister of Justice Taubira, who introduced it, will bear the date of May 17th, 2013: the “International Day against Homophobia.”

The decision by the Constitutional Counsel to release their verdict on the law the same day as a global pro-LGBT event is being seen as a sign that the Counsel, which is supposed to play a role similar to that of the American Supreme Court in verifying that new legislation is compatible with the French Constitution, made a political and partisan decision. 


Even though a majority of the Counsel’s members are perceived as leaning to the right of the ruling socialist government, they refused to take into account objections, as formulated by former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party, against same-sex “marriage” and especially against same-sex adoption and filiation. 

Counsel President Jean-Louis Debré had warned a month ago that the “Wise men,” as they are called, would probably not censure the law insofar as it marks a societal evolution that Parliament is free to create through legislation. 

François Hollande, who is facing record and deepening unpopularity in the polls, treated the affair as if it were the most important item on France’s agenda – even as France officially entered into recession last week and despite ongoing protests all over the country. 

The “Taubira law” was published in the official Gazette at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, May 18th, which is World Aids Vaccine Day and also the day of the birth in 1923 of Lucien Neuwirth, the French politician who obtained legalization of contraception and the pill in 1967. 

François Hollande made an official statement on Friday announcing the speedy promulgation of the law: he immediately warned that he would tolerate no opposition. “Now is the time for respect for the law,” he said. “I shall take care that the law is applied in every part of the country, that it will take complete effect, and I will not accept that these marriages be disturbed.” 

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This appears to target the ongoing demonstrations of public disapproval of the law; it may also be intended to address statements by several mayors such as Jacques Remiller of Vienne, in the South of France, and Michel Villedey, mayor of a small rural village near Angers, who have publicly promised never to celebrate a same-sex “marriage,” even if they should be sent to prison for it. 

Mainstream conservative politicians have voiced their continued opposition, but at the same time many of them have pleaded respect for the “law of the Republic.” They all continue to favor civil unions (without adoption or filiation) as a possible replacement for fully-fledged “marriage.” 

Most of them have also indicated that if they return to office in 2017, when the next presidential and legislative elections are scheduled, they will not be in a hurry to reverse the legislation. Only Marine Le Pen (National Front) has promised to do so, but she also is prepared to tout civil unions in that case. 

Christine Boutin, leader of the Christian democrat party (PCD), on the other hand, clearly called on the law’s opponents not to let go. 

“In reality, I am not calling to resistance. I am only accompanying a resistance that already exists, in the deep of France,” she said. “How is it possible that a head of State who has 19 % of favorable opinions can establish such a profound change of civilization and the denial of sexual difference as regards filiation without consulting the people! 

“’Moral law’ must preside in this case, and this will justify acts of incivility that will not, as you will see, take long to occur. In the same vein, citizens must stand up to support mayors who will have the courage not to celebrate same-sex marriages. It will be difficult and there will not be many, as the penalties will be heavy: these elected officers will risk being demoted, prison sentences and heavy fines. We must stay close,” she said. 

She did not deny that many will opt for civil disobedience, adding that any “dangers” that would attach to that situation are François Hollande’s sole responsibility. 

On Friday evening, some 1,500 demonstrators joined in front of the Pantheon and walked to the Sorbonne to protest against the Constitutional Counsel’s decision and François Hollande’s announcements. At one point a demonstrator started pouring flammable liquid on a paper effigy of the French president. The police immediately charged, and the demonstrator knocked over his gas on the ground in the process. He was then caught, but kept on chanting, while he was being beaten: “François, we don’t want your law.” 

Manuel Valls, French Interior minister, has given out that the young man – he is a black – had poured flammable liquid on a police officer’s face in view of setting him on fire: a criminal offense. However, footage published by several commercial TV stations show that the accusation is untrue. The affair does give some measure of the tension surrounding the “Taubira” law. 

A group of parents and children are walking from Rennes to Paris as “March for all” against gay “marriage” and they have been repeatedly been stopped by the police for identity checks: up to three times a day. 

Next Sunday will see the third major nationwide demonstration against gay “marriage” in Paris since the law was first presented in Parliament, and will add to the countless, even daily events that are taking place since the Senate adopted the law in April in the French capital and in other towns in France, large or small. 

The turnout is expected to be high, even though the cause is now seemingly hopeless. But governments right and left have been known to withdraw enacted legislation before under pressure from the streets.

And for the French, the battle is definitively not over.


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