Saturday, May 18, 2013

Vive la France! Down with Texas!

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Progress is on the march. In countries like Portugal and, of course, France:

France's president has signed into law a controversial bill making the country the ninth in Europe, and 14th globally, to legalise gay marriage.

On Friday, the Constitutional Council rejected a challenge by the right-wing opposition, clearing the way for Francois Hollande to sign the bill.

He said: "I have taken [the decision]; now it is time to respect the law of the Republic."

It wasn't easy:

Mr Hollande and his ruling Socialist Party have made the legislation their flagship social reform since being elected a year ago.

After a tortured debate, the same-sex marriage and adoption bill was adopted by France's Senate and National Assembly last month.

The bill was quickly challenged on constitutional grounds by the main right-wing opposition UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

But the Constitutional Council ruled on Friday that same-sex marriage "did not run contrary to any constitutional principles," and that it did not infringe on "basic rights or liberties or national sovereignty".

Indeed, while France is a generally progressive country (e.g., on health care), the right is still very strong, with conservatives well to the right of Sarkozy, and issues like gay rights and immigration prove to be deeply divisive.

Still, it's done, a victory for liberty and equality (and, for that matter, fraternity), and that's more than you can say about the U.S., which includes retrograde states like Texas:

A Republican Texas Judge has ordered a lesbian couple to live apart or give up custody of their children. According to Think Progress, Judge John Roach of McKinney, Texas has given Page Price 30 days to move out of the home she shares with Carolyn Compton and Compton's two children from a previous marriage because he does not approve of Compton and Price's "lifestyle."

Roach has placed a "morality clause" in Compton's divorce papers, which forbids Compton from having anyone she is not related to "by blood or marriage" in her home past 9:00 p.m. if the children are present. Same sex marriage is illegal in Texas, so by law, Compton cannot live with Price if she wishes to retain custody of her children.

That's not Saudi Arabia, that's Texas. And that's right, this bigot of a judge, reinforcing the bigotry of that state, is denying this woman her liberty and her equality (and, for that matter, her fraternity).

Truly, utterly shameful.

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  • It also points out how economics trump social issues. If Compton were rich, she could just emigrate and let the lawyers deal with the details. But I assume she is stuck there. Regardless, income inequality make all social problems worse.

    As for France, well, I'm glad about that but Hollande has been unable to do much in terms of the economy. It's been a great disappointment.

    Of course, gay rights are just racing ahead now. I expect gay Catholic priests in 50 years.

    By Anonymous Frank Moraes, at 4:08 AM  

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