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John Laughland speaks in Rome on gay marriage

Date de publication: 06.02.2013

The Battle of Lepanto by Paolo Veronese

On 6 February 2013, IDC's Director of Studies took part in a round table discussion at the Lepanto Foundation in Rome with Stéphane Buffetaud, former MEP, and Professor Roberto de Mattei, on the bills to allow gay marriage in France and Britain.

John Laughland spoke mainly about the comparative situation in Britain and France.  The two bills are making their way through the respective parliaments at the same time.  The main difference is that, in France, the concept of marriage and the concept of children and family are explicitly linked in law.  Newly wed couples receive an official document from the state called "un livret de famille" which begins with the marriage and has space to fill in the children.  As part of the ceremony, the mayor reads out the civil code which draws attention to the rights and duties of the married couple towards their future children.  In Britain, by contrast, the wedding ceremony emphasises only the sposes' commitment to each other

This difference affects the law on adoption and medically assisted procreation.  In France, these are available essentially only to married couples.  In Britain they are available to anyone, married or unmarried, gay or straight.  This is why the mobilisation has been so massive in France: the concept of the family remains traditional there, whereas in England it was radically changed in 2005 and 2008 when adoption and medically assisted procreation were legalised for gay people. 

Asked whether there were any signs of hope in Europe, John Laughland said that the huge demonstration in Paris on 13 January was certainly an encouraging sign.  However the situation in Russia was also a cause for hope.  That country had just announced that it would not allow adoption by homosexual couples in Britain or France.  The announcement, indeed, was made by Konstantin Dolgov, the commissioner for human rights in the Russian foreign ministry, who had spoken at IDC on 30 January. Whereas civil society was healthy in France, he said, in Russia the government too was in line with public opinion on this issue. 




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