“Equality! Equality!” the French MPs of the majority screamed just after the solemn vote on the same-sex marriage. On the last Tuesday, the French Parliament largely adopted the law.
France becomes the 14th country in the world to open marriage to homosexuals, just after New-Zealand some weeks ago. This is the epilogue of a long debate and a long struggle for defending of equality of citizens, whatever their sexual preferences.
It was an intense debate in which the opposition had a more and less deplorable but also worrying attitude. Deplorable insofar as it did not hesitate to be outrageous in its statements and proposals during the talks, worrying insofar as the French right seems to be more and more conservative, even radical. Although it would have been surprising the UMP party backs this law, its attitude clearly shows the French right lacks bearings and identity vis-à-vis the Front national far right party.
Just after the solemn vote of the law, the UMP party resorted to the French Constitutional Court which has thirty days to say if the law introduced by Christiane Taubira is in conformity with the French Constitution. Although it is not excluded, a censorship of the law is quite unlikely, all the more so as the government legal expert had anticipated the Court position.
Excepted coup de theatre, the law authorising same-sex marriage will be promulgated at the end of May by François Hollande who gets a political victory. This is a symbolic but very important insofar as the French leader is still unpopular according to the opinion polls, a lot of French people still wonder on his strategy. François Hollande is clearly aware the same-sex marriage law will not be enough to get the support of the French people back. Nonetheless, implementing this law, Hollande and his cabinet look for reaffirming their authority but also tackling the accusations of amateurism and lack of firmness.
So, there is still a lot to do for the French President and his government who know they cannot get results only by societal measures as José Luis Zapatero in Spain between 2004 and 2011. But, thanks to the same-sex marriage, François Hollande has an air bubble. He needs it insofar as the real challenges – as a mass unemployment with 3.2 million of jobless people and an economy in decline – are now in front of him.
To be clear, it’s (really) time for change!