French government retreats on family policy reforms after big protests

By Reuters Staff
February 3, 2014

(People protest in support of traditional family and education values, in Paris February 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

France’s Socialist government dropped plans on Monday to update family law this year after huge weekend protests by conservatives against gay-friendly reforms they say harm traditional families.

The government tried on Monday to reassure the protesters, who numbered over 100,000 in Paris and Lyon on Sunday, that the new law would not legalise assisted procreation for lesbian couples or surrogate motherhood for gay men who wanted children.

But when Socialist lawmakers insisted they would amend the planned bill to include those reforms, the government announced the draft law – which would also define the legal rights of step-parents in second marriages – needed more work.

“The government will not submit a family reform bill before the end of the year,” the prime minister’s office said.

Sunday’s protesters, many of the Catholics but also some Muslims, tapped continued resentment against the legalisation of gay marriage last year to pressure the government not to go further and allow ways to help gays have their own children.

Protest leaders accused the government of “family-phobia” and said government assurances the family law would not include those reforms were lies. French law only allows assisted reproduction for married couples with infertility problems.

Read the full story by Emmanuel Jarry here.

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