Gay Couples With Foreign Marriages, Partnerships Win Recognition Battle in France



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PARIS, April 29, 2009  –  Approval was given in the early hours of this morning by the National Assembly of the measure to have foreign legal same-sex marriages/unions/partnerships recognised in France as PACS.

With the measure passing the Senate last month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has 15 days to “promulgate” the measure into law.

An amendment tabled by Christian Vanneste was dropped as the controversial politician failed to turn up.

The passing of the measure in the French National Assembly was welcomed this morning in Brussels where both the European Union and the European Parliament had been pressing the French Government to recognise the legal status of same-sex couples who had registered their partnerships in another country.

“We have been calling for this for some time,” said president of the European Parliament’s all-party ‘intergroup’ on gay and lesbian rights.

“I am looking forward to similar moves in other countries and eventually hope that same sex partnerships and marriages will be recognised throughout all 27 Member States of the EU.”

Currently, same-sex couples with legal partnerships or marriages registered in other countries, had not of the benefits of same-sex, or opposite-sex, couples who had PACS.

This meant that, for instance, a couple who had registered a civil partnership in the UK and lived in France had no rights as a couple – and were even subject to a higher rate of inheritance tax if one of the partners died, especially if property was owned.

The non-recognition of foreign same-sex couples by France has been a bone of contention for ex-pats from EU countries living in France as those EU countries that have same-sex relationships laws recognise PACS.

Mr. Vanneste, who represents the Nord constituency and is a member of the UMP – the same party as President Sarkozy, is a well-known homophobic politician.  In 2006 he became the first French citizen to be fined 3,000 euros  for homophobic remarks made in the National Assembly.

He said that homosexuals were threat to the survival of humanity, and “morally inferior”.  He later repeated the statement to the media.

Under the French constitution, the President cannot veto a measure passed by the National Assembly, but can pass it back to the Assembly for further consideration.

The President of the Republic shall promulgate Acts of Parliament within fifteen days following the final passage of an Act and its transmission to the Government,” Article 10 reads in the official English translation.

“He may, before the expiry of this time limit, ask Parliament to reopen debate on the Act or any sections thereof. Such reopening of debate shall not be refused.”





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Posted: 29 April 2009 at 16:00 (UK time)


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