The promise by Jean-Marc Ayrault follows an early pledge by France’s new socialist President Francois Hollande to introduce gay marriage to the country by 2013. Mr Hollande’s predecessor, Nicholas Sarkozy was opposed to gay marriage. The French news website Yagg.com reports that M Ayrault made the promises regarding gay marriage and adoption laws during an interview on radio station RMC and later television station BFMTV.
It’s unclear what the precise time table for the legalisation will be and when any such bills would be put before the French senate. Gay couples in France and enter into Civil Solidarity Pacts – as can straight couples – but they do not offer the same legal protections and advantages that marriages do.
If France does press ahead with its plans to introduce same-sex marriages then it would join a glowing club of European countries that have already legalised gay marriage. France’s neighbours Spain and Belgium have introduced marriage equality as have other European countries such as Holland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Portugal. Other countries such as Denmark, Germany, Luxemburg, Finland and the UK have hinted they plan to debate the issue/legalise same-sex marriage in the near future.