Thousands Registered Under France's PACS Law
Friday, January 21st 2000
PARIS -- Since the passage of the Civil Solidarity Pact law in France last October, more than 6,000 same- and opposite-sex couples have registered their unions with the state, the Justice Ministry announced Thursday.
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The national debate over PACS legislation raged in France for the better part of two years. Tens of thousands of conservatives marched through the streets last year to denounce the proposed legislation. Opponents, joined by the Roman Catholic Church, issued dire warnings that the legislation would undermine family values and even bring about the end of French civilization.
The Socialists ultimately beat back Conservative attempts to derail the bill and passed PACS reform on October 13, 1999, by a vote of 315 to 249. Gay civil rights groups in France remain angry that the current bill does nothing to ease adoption restrictions and that a waiting period of three years was necessary before gay couples could file joint tax and claim other benefits.
Similar legislation already exists in several European countries, including Iceland, Belgium and Sweden. Laws in Denmark and the Netherlands are even more liberal. Germany is expected to begin debate on a national domestic partnership law early next year.