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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How do we solve a problem like Marine?

Very little makes me want to sit right down and vent my spleen: mostly I prefer to mull something over and give it due consideration. However, this afternoon the French parliament is voting on gay marriage, a debate raised by the Parti Socialiste that will almost inevitably not pass as the right wing government has the majority and they are not minded to bring France in line with many other countries in the developed world. Indeed France still considers itself to be a Catholic nation and the right wing parties tend to be the ones who like to be seen to uphold Catholic values.

Now that makes me a tad annoyed and a tad sad. France was one of the first nations in Europe to enact laws enabling same sex couples to be recognised legally with the PACS, but this contract between two people whatever their gender, gives very diluted rights and obligations and is nowhere near to being equal to marriage or civil partnership.  Meanwhile countries such as the UK have brought in equal rights for gay couples and the discussion has now moved on to whether same sex couples should be able to (civil) marry albeit that is the shorthand that many use to describe their civil partnership just as they use husband and wife as terms to describe themselves. The argument for marriage in church is something else again and is not an area for government diktat. I believe that sometimes there is a confusion in people's minds as often civil and religious weddings take place in the same place ie in the church with the register signed there too.

So in France, where if people wed in church they also have to take part in a civil ceremony at the Mairie, just as they do in other countries, you might be forgiven for thinking that it would be easier to separate the two and to allow civil weddings for all.  Mais non! Not whilst there are politicians defending only heterosexual rights. And now Marine Le Pen, the glamorous leader of the French National Front,  has waded in with her jaded and hackneyed declaration that if we allow gay marriage then why not polygamy too?  Perhaps in private she alludes to people marrying their pets? I do hope she is not defending the sanctity of marriage since she has allowed herself to be married and divorced twice already and at the age of 43 has plenty of time left in which to repeat her commitment to this holy institution.

I looked up "Catholic" and saw that the capitalised word pertains to one church as in the Catholic church being the one true church ie exclusive whereas "catholic" lower case adjective has almost entirely the opposite meaning ie

1.universal; relating to all men; all-inclusive
2.comprehensive in interests, tastes, etc; broad-minded; liberal

Such a pity then that the debate this afternoon won't be lower case.

Ms Le Pen is a problem that is not going to go away soon  cf Sarah Palin, but at least she is starting to put her true cards on the table and her catholic appeal may well diminish as her Catholic tendencies become clearer.

PS - fingers crossed the Parti Socialiste will indeed sweep the board next year in which case there is a chance for this attempt at equality.

Rant over.

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