Hi Lisa and other people here.
If you want to think a bit longer than an usual comment, you can read my contribution
I’m a young French man, 29 y.o.
I will marry (in France) a German woman in February 2013, so i have a bit of though about the topic “marriage”, and now thanks to my government, i must think deeper in the topic, to understand the deep reasons, history and logics between the French civil marriage
I hope my English will be correct enough, so that it doesn’t lead to misunderstandings.
Thanks all for being interested in our small european country.
I would like to give a few precisions, so that we can distinguish within this article and within your commentaries, what belongs to the topic and what doesn’t.
1 - It’s about CIVIL marriage, and not religious. So no argument based on any faith (christian, jewish, muslim) can be raised.
FYI, the most detailed and honest document on this topic has been written by the French jewish big boss Gilles Bernheim Grand rabbin de France (i haven’t found any English translation unfortunately, only hebrew : grandrabbindefrance.com/hebrew-translation-essay-gay-marriage-gay-parenting-and-adoption)
In his essay, the Rabbin distinguishes clearly the religious and non-religious aspects of the topic. The non-religious are more than enough to constest the law draf proposed by our President François Hollande and the socialists.
You may say : “if it’s all about civil marriage, what do religions have to open their mouth here ?”
i would answer : “Religions are not lobbies, or they shouldn’t act as lobbies. In this topic, they are acting as they are made for : to bring a light on a specific question. For sure, this light is inspired by religious beliefs.
but, honestly, if you don’t care about religion, just ignore it. If other people do care about God, religion, Church and so on, why not ? If the religion (in France, only Jews and catholics institutions bring a deep and consistent message on this topic according to me) is able to put together arguments that consistently and without mentioning any beliefs refute all arguments brought by the governements and the gay and lesbian lobbies, which issue do you see ?”
2 - Peter M, you asked Lisa “What is marriage”
i guess the definition is not strictly the same across countries. In France, this is an institution, provided by the State, to give a stable frame to the society.
The words are very important here :
- it is NOT the legal recognition of the love between a man and a woman.
- it is NOT a contract. The ONLY official person you “runs” the marriage is the mayor of the city or one of his assistants (so, democratically elected people, with republican authority)
- you don’t need any laywer/solicitor to marry someone. The rule applied to the goods of each person before and after the marriage is the default one (i.e. the matrimonial agreement), except if you explicitly want it. In this last case you will go to a lawyer and write down a contract. This contract is only about goods, not about person nor feelings.
Which institution is it then ? it just comes from our history, and this institution says :
“if you want to marry in the face of the French republic and his official representative (the mayor), then you’ll “suscribe” to a range of rights and duties.
These rights and duties DO concern : the man and the woman who marry, their respective parents in certain circumstances, their children if they get a few.
The words “love” or anything related to a feeling do NOT appear anywhere in the texts.
Here the text that is read by the mayor or his assistant (at the end, the man and the woman are married. The only change for them is either the death or divorce)
i will translate the parts relevant to our topic here :
Les époux se doivent mutuellement respect, fidélité, secours et assistance.
The spouses, each in turn, must assure respect, fidelity, help and assistance to each other
have declared their wish to take each other as husband/wife, and we have pronounced them joined in matrimony in the name of the law
Les époux assurent ensemble la direction morale et matérielle de la famille, ils pourvoient à l’éducation des enfants et préparent leur avenir.
The spouses ensure together the moral and material direction of the family, they educate the children and prepare their future
Si les conventions matrimoniales ne règlent pas la contribution des époux aux charges du mariage, ils y contribuent à proportion de leurs facultés respectives.
If the matrimonial agreement does not settle the contribution of the spouses to the family budget, each one will contribute proportionnaly to their revenues.
Les époux s’obligent mutuellement à une communauté de vie.
Spouses mutually oblige themselves to a community of living
L’autorité parentale est un ensemble de droits et de devoirs ayant pour finalité l’intérêt de l’enfant. Elle appartient au père et à la mère jusqu’à la majorité ou l’émancipation de l’enfant pour le protéger dans sa sécurité, sa santé et sa moralité, pour assurer son éducation et permettre son développement, dans le respect dû à sa personne. Les parents associent l’enfant aux décisions qui le concernent, selon son âge et son degré de maturité.
Parental authority is a a combination of rights and duties, which goal is the interest of the child. This authority belongs to the father and to the mother until voting age or emancipation of the child to protect him in his security, health and morality, to ensure he receives an education and to allow his development, while respecting his person. The parents bring in the child on decisions about him, according to his age and his level of maturity.
So these arguments come again the argument raised by my Governement “Equality is the highest value, everyone has to be equal ... blablabla, so how could you prevent the love between two people to be officialy acknowledged within a civil marriage ?”
i know it sounds strange that the French government doesn’t know what the French definition of civil marriage is. But that how it is now.
So please, don’t be as ignorant as the French governement.
Now, you see that the French civil marriage is made of 5 articles (plus the question “do you want to marry X…?” and the answers “Yes”). Not less, not more.
How are these articles split ?
The couple (Art 212 and 215)
The goods of the couple (Art 214)
The children (Art 213 and 371-1)
So please now, where do you see anything like “public recognition/acknowledgment of a love between two people” ?
3 - Going to the “right” to marry
it’ another perverse argument always raised. In the name of Equality, all couples should be allowed to marry.
I say perverse, because this argument rests on a “cheap” usage of words.
Yes, equality is nice, yes, it’s written on the facade of each single French public building, even schools when they were build a long time ago.
However, I’m really sorry, but equality is not the topic here, since no-one is discriminated.
Once again, it’s all about using worse without respecting their meaning. Classical and very effective.
The rights do concern individuals, they do not concern combinations of individuals, like a couple of two people.
Any person, in France, regardless of what he does in his bed or what he thinks, has the right to marry an other person of the opposite sex, under certains conditions (to be over 18 y.o., not to belong to close family etc…)
So on an individual perspective, the civil marriage itself doesn’t discriminate anyone. No-one can say “i was not allowed to marry someone (within the rules of the law), because of my skin color, or my education, or my origin country…”
That’s all for now folks, i’m a bit tired.
I hope we can keep talking and arguing together.