Gay France News and Reports 2000-05

1 Lesbian magazine upsets gay lobby 6/00

2 Paris marks 100th anniversary of Oscar Wilde death 11/00

3 France formally recognizes gay victims of Nazis for first time 4/01

4 Paris and Berlin Gay Mayors Celebrate Gay Pride 6/01

5 Paris gives a typical Gallic shrug about its gay mayor 6/01

6 Modern gay twist to ancient ‘Medea’ opera 2/02

7 Gay ‘Wedding’ In Rome 10/02

8 Paris Mayor Leaves Intensive Care After Weekend Stabbing 10/02

9 Gay Paree to target pink tourism 12/02

10 France courts gay tourists, with Paris as main selling point 8/03

11 Socialists rally behind gay marriage 5/04

12 Paris Journal: Losing Its Nonchalance, France Feuds Over Gay Vows 5/04

13 France’s first gay marriage hits legal rocks 6/04

14 Court annuls France homosexual marriage 7/04

15 Paris Gay Mayor Attacks French Homophobia 9/04

16 France ready to add more rights to civil pact 12/04

17 Court annuls first gay marriage 4/05

18 European Court May Take Up Gay Marriage Issue 4/05

19 Priest hurt in mock gay marriage–calls gays ‘barbaric’ 6/05

20 Most French against gay adoptions 7/05

21 French conservatives blast gay posters 10/05

22 Pierre Seel, the Last French ‘Pink Triangle’ Dies at 82 11/05

23 French lesbians go to Belgium seeking to be pregnant 12/05

London Times, London, United Kingdom ( )

June 22, 2000

Lesbian magazine upsets gay lobby

From Adam Sage in Paris
French lesbians stepped into a row with the mainstream male-dominated gay lobby yesterday after launching the country’s first lesbian magazine. The publication is designed to give lesbians a voice in a society where, unlike homosexual men, they have been unable to benefit from social change. With urban French liberalism in constant tension with rural Catholicism, the image of women is shaped by a self-proclaimed enlightened elite that is invariably masculine. The result is a series of stereotypes: the young, long-legged blonde student, the successful, attractive working mother, and for lesbians, the butch, comic, badly dressed loner.

The women journalists behind the new magazine Tetu, Madame (Stubborn, Madame) said they had been marginalised by France’s leading homosexual publication Tetu. In an editorial, Axelle le Dauphin, argued that Tetu’s claim that it represented lesbians as well as gay men was a giant swindle. This brought a furious reply from Thomas Doustaly, the Editor of Tetu, who described Mme le Dauphine as "spiteful".

M Doustaly’s attack on what he refers to as "this little madame" betrays the concerns of a gay community that is enjoying the social recognition that has so far been refused to lesbians. After years of ostracism and subterfuge male politicians, such as Bertrand Delanoe, the socialist candidate for Mayor of Paris, feel free to affirm their homosexuality. So too do television stars such as Pascal Sevran, a variety show host. However, the only lesbian celebrity in France is Amelie Mauresmo, a tennis player whose sexual preference was made public when other players on the women’s circuit spoke about it.


November 29, 2000

Paris marks 100th anniversary of Oscar Wilde death

by Tom Heneghan
In an ironic triumph that Oscar Wilde would have savoured, admirers ranging from actors and gay activists to Catholic priests are all marking Thursday’s 100th anniversary of the flamboyant Irish writer’s death in Paris. Some of his fans would hardly have mixed in the Victorian age, especially after Wilde was jailed for "gross indecency" stemming from his love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas.

But the passage of time has mellowed views on homosexuality, while taking away none of the sparkle from the plays, poems, novels and aphorisms that made Wilde famous. "Oscar’s fan club is a very broad church," remarked an organiser of one of many events in Paris marking Wilde’s death on November 30, 1900, in a Left Bank hotel.

In fact, St. Joseph’s Church, the English-speaking Catholic parish in the French capital, plans a memorial Mass on Thursday that will be attended by Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland and several actors and artists from London. Despite his decadent reputation, Wilde flirted with the Church for decades and had an Irish priest from St. Joseph’s administer the last rites the day before he died. "The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone," he once quipped. "For respectable people, the Anglican Church will do."

Worldwide Fame And Shame
Wilde’s 46-year journey from his Dublin home to his deathbed at the Hotel d’Alsace on the rue des Beaux-Arts brought him first to worldwide fame and then equally renowned shame. A brilliant student at Dublin’s Trinity College and Oxford in England, he was the toast of London in the 1880s and 1890s, known as much for his eccentric clothes as his successful plays. In 1882, a nine-month lecture tour through the United States and Canada made him a celebrity there long before he wrote "The Picture of Dorian Gray" or "The Importance of Being Earnest."

His high-flying career crashed spectacularly in 1895 when he was jailed for two years for his romance with Douglas. After serving his sentence, Wilde went into exile in Paris where a long-standing ear infection slowly spread to his brain. Doctors now say this is what caused his death, not syphilis as was long believed, even by his biographer Richard Ellmann. On November 29, 1900, as he lay dying with two leeches on his forehead to drain blood from his brain, a friend heeded Wilde’s long-standing request and summoned a priest.

"There was enough in his life to tell us this was no aberration by a dying or frightened man," said Father Thomas Scanlon, the current pastor of Saint Joseph’s. While in prison, Wilde regretted his extravagant ways but never tried "to reinvent his personality like modern politicians do when they fall into disgrace," he noted.

Plays, Kisses And Prayers
The Paris commemorations highlight all these facets of Wilde’s life. Three theatres — two in English, one in French — are putting on his plays and holding readings from his works. Admirers have already started laying wreaths at his grave at Pere Lachaise, the Paris cemetery for the famous. Accompanied by relatives and friends, Wilde’s grandson plans a private ceremony at the imposing gravestone on Thursday morning, followed by a breakfast hosted by the Irish embassy and then a commemorative Mass at Saint Joseph’s.

Gay activists, who have defaced the grave’s naked marble angel with kisses painted in lipstick, are also expected to make the pilgrimage to honour the man they consider a martyr. On Wednesday evening, Holland — who has just brought out a new collection of his grandfather’s letters in London — was due to launch a French-language selection of Wilde’s witticisms in a ceremony at the hotel where he died. About 60 fans were due there on Thursday evening for a private party, including a visit to the death room which has just been renovated in the style Wilde would have known.,

April 30, 2001

France formally recognizes gay victims of Nazis for first time

by Gregg Drinkwater, / Network
A few days after the French government’s first public recognition of the persecution of homosexuals during World War II, GLBT organizations in Paris participated for the first time in official ceremonies in remembrance of the Jews and other victims of the Nazis deported from France during the war.

France’s national Day of Remembrance has traditionally focused on the Jewish and political victims of Nazi persecution, and on the collaborationist French government’s culpability in deporting Jews and political prisoners into German hands (most of whom were then placed in concentration camps) during the Nazi occupation of the northern half of the country. For years GLBT groups have lobbied to include remembrance of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, only to be rebuffed — sometimes with police barricades — by the organizers of the various memorial ceremonies held in cities throughout France. Memorial to the Deportation

This year, GLBT organizations were officially invited to participate in the ceremony held in Paris on Sunday at the Memorial to the Deportation, a monument behind Notre Dame Cathedral usually regarded as a memorial to the Jewish deportees and to the Holocaust. The main ceremony remembered all those deported into German hands during the war and made no mention of specific groups, but after this main section, members of the GLBT groups — wearing pink triangles on their lapels — placed a wreath of flowers in memory of the deportation and persecution of homosexuals.

A delegate from the national veterans association was present at the wreath laying, along with city officials, several gay politicians and Pierre Seel, the last known surviving Frenchman imprisoned by the Germans for homosexuality. "Many people stopped to look at our wreath," one of the participants told France. "They were intrigued, and some of them asked questions."

"No one should be left out" Jospin’s comment last week, in which he said, "No one should be left out of this act of memory. It is important that our country directly recognizes the persecution perpetrated during the Occupation against certain minorities — Spanish refugees, gypsies, or homosexuals," was followed by an official order to include gays in future remembrance ceremonies, and by a promise to form a commission of historians to study the persecution of homosexuals in France during the war, the newspaper Liberation reported.

Gay groups also participated in memorial ceremonies held in Lille, Lyon and Le Mans. In Montpellier, gay activists were blocked by the police from laying a wreath until Mayor Georges Freche intervened. Freche calmed the organizers of the official ceremony and convinced them to let the gay group through. Freche offered to discuss creating an official day of remembrance for homosexual deportees. The Montpellier activists laid their wreath, held a moment of silence in memory of the homosexual victims of Nazi persecution and then, together, sang the "Marseillaise."

From 1933 to 1945, between 100,000 and 150,000 homosexuals were arrested by the Nazis under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the German penal code. As many as 15,000 were sent to concentration camps, of which only about a third survived. Because Paragraph 175 remained on the books until the 1960s, many of those gay men who survived their wartime internment remained in prison for years afterward. In November 2000, the German government officially apologized for the persecution of homosexuals during and after the war.

Associated Press

June 23, 2001

Paris and Berlin Gay Mayors Celebrate Gay Pride

by Angela Doland
Paris – Glad to vote gay: The homosexual mayors of Berlin and Paris want to be judged on their politics, not their sexuality. How will the pink vote play in Britain? Paris and Berlin celebrated gay pride on Saturday with rollicking parades that drew revelers who held hands, waved rainbow banners and danced to techno beats. The cities’ mayors, both openly gay, were at the center of the festivities.

Bertrand Delanoe — the first Paris mayor to participate in his city’s parade — held a banner reading "All together against discrimination,” as he led a parade of tens of thousands in the French capital. Police said there were 250,000 demonstrators and the same number of spectators. In Berlin, the brightly striped rainbow flag symbolizing the gay rights movement flew over city hall for the first time, as hundreds of thousands turned out to watch or participate in the parade.

Klaus Wowereit, the German capital’s mayor, was greeted by cheering crowds as he took to the podium and promised to lead the city in tolerance and to fight politically against the Neo-Nazi scene. "We won’t give the right extremists a finger’s width,” Wowereit said. Wowereit was chosen as interim mayor last week by the city parliament only a few months after Delanoe was elected, in a sign of greater acceptance of gay politicians in some parts of Europe.

"Any time there are Parisians fighting for more freedom … I’m with them,” Delanoe, a Socialist who took office in March, told The Associated Press. "This is the seventh year that I’ve gone to the Gay Pride parade — it’s not just because I’ve become Paris mayor that I feel I have to take part.” People camped out along the parade route that wound though Paris, past the site of the former Bastille jail, heading north to the Place de la Republique.

One group of marchers lined up to hold an enormous fluttering rainbow flag over their heads. Some marchers dressed casually, other more elaborately. Vincent Agudo, a 32-year-old Parisian, wore a purple feather boa and carried a white parasol. "I’m here because gay people should have the same rights as everyone else,” Agudo said. Like many other marchers, Agudo said he wanted France to lift laws that ban gay people from adopting children.

In 1999, France passed a law giving unmarried couples — including gays — some of the same rights as married couples, including the right to file joint tax forms. But France’s efforts are considered a step behind several of its neighbors’ attempts to promote gay rights. On Friday, the Belgian government approved a bill to fully legalize same-sex weddings, a measure that, if approved by parliament, would make the country the second in the world to recognize gay marriages, after the Netherlands.

In Berlin, drag queens wearing purple wigs and groups of young men with gay pride mottos painted across their bare chests were among the crowds that packed Berlin’s Kurfuerstendamm boulevard for the annual Christopher Street Day parade. Nicholas Batten, a parade organizer, estimated that as many as 1 million people turned out to watch the parade. "This year was the biggest ever,” said Batten.

The motto of this year’s parade, "Berlin stands queer against the right-wing” — a pun on the German word "quer,” which means to stand across something’s path — underlined the event’s political aim to fight discrimination. While Berlin has a history of acceptance of gays that goes back as far as the 19th century, other parts of Germany are more conservative. The government of the state of Bavaria is fighting to prevent a federal law granting rights to same-sex couples from taking effect Aug. 1.

For the first time, Berlin’s festivities included civil courage awards recognizing people who fight discrimination in everyday life. A special award was to go to Paul Spiegel, the head of the Jewish community in Germany, who has publicly supported homosexuals in their fight for recognition of persecution suffered under the Nazis.

In Milan, Italy, about 30,000 people — flanked by colored balloons — marched through the city center to demand equal rights for gays in a festive parade that featured music and dancing. But the city of Milan, however, did not support the parade. Vice-Mayor Riccardo De Corato told the ANSA news agency that the municipality did "not share the sentiments of this rally.”

London Times, London United Kingdom (

19 June 2001

Paris gives a typical Gallic shrug about its gay mayor

The conservative shopkeepers and pensioners who read the Paris municipal journal had a shock the other day. Along with the usual notes on parking restrictions and libraries, the gazette gave the parade route for next Saturday’s Lesbian and Gay Pride Day.

The municipal blessing – unthinkable under Paris’s previous, Gaullist council – was the work of Bertrand DelanoÎ, a declared homosexual who in March was elected Mayor at the head of a Socialist-Green council. DelanoÎ, 50, is to march with the parade to show solidarity with the city’s big gay population, which is centred mainly around the Marais district. For most of Paris – wealthier and more tolerant than the French average – the advent of a gay Mayor has been a non-event.

During the election campaign the only headlines about "Gay Paree" were in British tabloids; DelanoÎ is being measured on his ability to keep promises on property taxes, schools and the dog mess that blights the pavements. Only occasionally do you hear jibes by taxi drivers about le maire pÈdÈ, the Queer Mayor. DelanoÎ, a slight, chain-smoking opera-lover, is studiously unflamboyant. With his permanently pained expression, he cuts a pale, uncharismatic, figure alongside the big egos who usually run metropolises. Intensely private about his home life, he insists that being homosexual is only a "banal aspect of my nature". He was not, he says, elected as un maire homo, but as the politician with the best programme.

But DelanoÎ is a courageous exception in the still macho world of French politics. While mistresses and multiple divorces have long been tolerated among presidents, ministers, MPs and mayors, no senior politician before DelanoÎ had dared to confirm his homosexuality. Though their identities are well known in the gay community, prominent homosexual politicians usually take refuge in marriage.

DelanoÎ’s orientation was probably a factor in his failure to break fully into national politics after rising to high rank in FranÁois Mitterrand’s Socialist party in the 1970s. A long-serving councillor and Senator for Paris, he became a mayoral candidate by default after the withdrawal of Jack Lang, the colourful former Culture Minister of the Mitterrand presidency.

France’s continuing anti-gay prejudice is illustrated by the case of Philippe Meynard, 29, who was forced out of his job of deputy mayor of the southern town of Barsac last year after he proclaimed his homosexuality. In March he won the council elections at the head of a centre-right team, but was barred from the mayor’s job to which he was entitled when his own party sided with his opponents.

DelanoÎ’s friends told him that he was committing political suicide when he decided to proclaim his sexuality on television in 1999 to head off trouble in his campaign for the HÙtel de Ville. He was braced for the worst, he recalls: "I was persuaded that this was going to change negatively my role in public life, that I would be stuck with the label." But "Parisians, thank goodness, didn’t give a hoot about it". Lionel Jospin, the Prime Minister and a close friend for 30 years, congratulated him after the show.

As Mayor, DelanoÎ has raised the profile of homosexuals, approving subsidies for community associations and appointing Christophe Girard, a Green gay activist, as the city’s culture chief. But he has upset militants by failing to be more overtly gay. "He has adopted a low profile. We thought he would be more at ease with the gay world. We get the impression that he’s trying to erase his homosexuality," says Thomas Doustaly, the editor of TÍtu, a gay magazine. "Straight politicians appear in public with their wives. Why isn’t DelanoÎ more natural about this?"

DelanoÎ, who lives in a flat on the Left Bank rather than the official residence, answered the question during the campaign. "I’m a bachelor, but I can fall in love instantly. It can last a week or ten years. If I were in a couple now, I don’t know if I would put it on display. I might not talk about it, to save the tranquillity of the couple."

New York Times, New York ( )

February 27, 2002

Modern gay twist to ancient ‘Medea’ opera: Jason Feels Free in the Arms of a Prince

by Alan Riding
Paris –
The versions of "Medea" passed down by Euripides and Seneca portray the wild goddess from Colchis as a barbaric outsider who uses her magical powers to destroy Corinth and who thinks nothing of murdering her children to punish her faithless husband, Jason. The underlying message, it seems, is that civilized nations, like Greece and Rome, should be wary of unacculturated foreigners.

Of course the myth of Medea can also be easily modernized, with Jason and his Argonauts portrayed as colonial brutes raping and pillaging Colchis and Medea herself as a dark-skinned immigrant who finally avenges the discrimination, betrayal and humiliation she has suffered in a land that claims to be civilized. As for her infanticide, well, perhaps as an act of madness brought on by despair, the charge can be reduced to manslaughter.

But what if the myth is reworked with a different modern twist? What if, instead of leaving Medea for the King of Corinth’s daughter, Jason runs off with the king’s son, Creon? This is at least the plot of "Medea," the last opera by the Swiss composer Rolf Liebermann, who died in 1999 at 88. And it has gained instant renown here after one French critic proclaimed it "the first explicitly homosexual opera."

Whether or not it is in fact the first such opera, it is certainly the first to be presented on the grand stage of of the Bastille Opera, where it runs through Friday. It does no favors to Medea. True, in this 70-minute work she has no children to kill, although she is none too happy to be carrying Jason’s child. More pertinent, she is blamed for Jason’s betrayal: it is her noisy, jealous and dominating behavior that drives Jason into the arms of Creon. She gets her revenge when she sends her young rival her wedding dress, which catches fire, kills Creon and razes Corinth.

But while she dismisses her distraught husband as "nothing but a legend" (he of the Golden Fleece), Jason is allowed to justify his breach of faith: "Your aim was to possess, not to love. I was merely the mirror of your ambition. In the arms of this man, I felt free." The explicitness addressed by Dominique Fernandez in an essay in the Bastille Opera’s program precedes this denouement. As it happens, the hugs and kisses between Jason, sung by the Finnish bass-baritone Petri Lindroos, and Creon, sung by the American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, are not written into the libretto; they were proposed by the production’s director, Jorge Lavelli.

But the two men also sing lyrically of their love for each other. Mr. Fernandez, a novelist and music critic, says this is what distinguishes "Medea." He argues that, in Tchaikovsky’s "Eugene Onegin," the duel between Onegin and Lensky is a substitute for a declaration of love, with death the ultimate expression of desire. In Britten’s "Billy Budd" and "Death in Venice," he notes, while the homosexual undertone is clear, it is not explicit in the libretto. But in "Medea," he writes, "for the first time, two men sing of their love, without disguise or evasion."

Liebermann, who ran the Hamburg Opera from 1959 to 1973 and the Paris Opera from 1973 to 1980, was not a prolific composer, although he wrote five operas, with his adaptation of Molière’s "École de Femmes" best remembered for receiving a record 67 curtain calls when it had its premiere at the Salzburg Festival in 1957. That work and "Léonore 40/45," "Pénélope" and "La Fôret" are rarely performed today. In 1989 he became intrigued by the myth of Medea, and the subject stayed with him to the end of his life. After writing "Monologue de Medea" for soprano and orchestra, he was inspired by Ursula Haas’s novel "The Acquittal of Medea" to plan what he called an "anti-macho opera" portraying Medea sympathetically.

But Ms. Haas, who became his librettist, concluded that Jason’s adultery with a Greek princess was insufficient motive for her fury. So when this first version was performed in Hamburg in 1995, a homoerotic relationship was included. Still not satisfied, Liebermann and Ms. Haas returned to the work, expanding Medea’s role in a central act in which she sings of her love and hatred for Jason and adding lyricism to the scene in the third and final act, in which Creon recalls how he and Jason fell in love. The work was completed shortly before Liebermann’s death, and it is this "definitive" version that had its French premiere here this month.

The production is also a homage to Liebermann, who was enormously influential when he was running the Paris Opera in the 1970’s: to this day, the "Liebermann era" is mentioned with reverence. And among those who learned the ropes with him is Hugues Gall, the current director of the Paris Opera. Somewhat cruelly, however, Le Monde recalled that Liebermann was named to the Paris Opera for his skills as an administrator rather than as a composer.

The score of "Medea," played here by the Paris Opera Orchestra conducted by Daniel Klajner, is modern without being contemporary, with ample use of brass and percussion, strong rhythms and echoes of Berg, Bartok, Stravinsky and Messiaen. The dominant voice is that of Medea, sung in this production with passion and poignancy by the American soprano Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet. Mr. Lindroos’s Jason and Mr. Zazzo’s Creon also won accolades from French critics.

Perhaps most dramatic, though, were Agostino Pace’s décor and Graciela Galán’s costumes, above all in the first act set where an arena enclosed by high walls represents the temple in Colchis where Medea, the high priestess of the matriarchy, is preparing to castrate her brother Absyrtus. The wall then opens, a gangway descends and the rampaging Argonauts arrive to steal the Golden Fleece. In the second act Medea sings her grief on a raised platform surrounded by Corinthian women wrapped in white cloth and resembling walking mummies. Then, in an operatic nod to the modern, the third act’s set is Art Deco, including a steaming shower from which a bare-chested Creon emerges.

Eric Dahan, music critic of the left-of-center Paris daily Libération, did not approve: he said it reminded him of the 1978 movie, "La Cage aux Folles." While the Bastille Opera’s public gave the production – and notably the singers – a warm reception, Renaud Machart of Le Monde was another music critic who came away less than satisfied. He said that Liebermann had displayed "happy politeness" by writing a short opera, but that he feared "Medea" might be remembered best for Mr. Fernandez’s definition of its originality. And to sum up the work, his review had the headline: "Sad and gay."

Agenzia Italia NF82&page=0&id=agionline-eng -Italyonline

October 17, 2002

Gay ‘Wedding’ In Rome

The gay wedding which will take place in the French Embassy in Rome "is not a marriage" but just "an administrative act", "it has no legal effect or relevance for our legal system." Carlo Giovanardi, Minister for Parliamentary Relations, answering Francesca Martini (Northern League), during question time yesterday, explained the legal outlines of what the media has presented as a real marriage between two Italian men.

Giovanardi specified that "on Monday October 21, a ‘civil solidarity pact’ between an Italian and a French citizen will reach its conclusion," provided for by a French law of 1999. "It is the eleventh pact drawn up by the Embassy between French citizens, or between French and Italian citizens: as has been specified by the French Consular Authorities, that solidarity pact is an administrative act, which simply builds a kind of mutual commitment for patrimonial support and assistance, which can only be entered into if at least one of the two hold French citizenship."

Associated Press/Dow Jones Newswires

October 11, 2002

Paris Mayor Leaves Intensive Care After Weekend Stabbing

Paris – Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who was hospitalized Sunday after being stabbed during an all-night public party at the French capital’s city hall, was transferred out of intensive care Friday. Delanoe underwent emergency surgery at Pitie Salpetriere hospital shortly after an assailant stabbed him in the abdomen during Paris’ "Sleepless Night" festival. The 52-year-old mayor suffered injuries to the stomach, the intestines and the vena cava, a major vein that brings blood from the lower body to the heart.

Delanoe is expected to be released from the hospital in about five days but won’t be back at work for several weeks. The suspect in the stabbing, Azedine Berkane, 39, has told investigators that he committed the crime out of a dislike of homosexuals and politicians, authorities said. Delanoe is openly gay. Berkane has been placed under formal investigation, one step short of being charged.

Associated Press

December 12, 2002

Gay Paree to target pink tourism

Paris – Paris tourism officials want to give new meaning to the term "Gay Paree." The French capital has always wooed visitors with its reputation for fine dining and high fashion, and Paris continually cashes in on its mystique as the land of love and romance. Now, City Hall has a new strategy: selling Paris as a leading destination for gay travellers.

At the mayor’s office and the tourism bureau, officials call it the next frontier of tourism. "We want to create a gay friendly spirit across the whole city," said Laurent Queige, one of the project’s organisers. "It’s an entire marketing campaign devoted to gay tourism: promotions, brochures, media trips, Web sites, tour packages."

Officials in Paris say they are encouraged by a trend toward greater tolerance but are still battling conservatism and homophobia. Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, when elected last year became the city’s first openly gay mayor and proudly led this summer’s Gay Pride parade. But he could not attend a meeting last month to inaugurate the gay-friendly tourism campaign because he was recuperating from a stabbing attack by a man who said he disliked homosexuals.

The overall challenge for officials working on the campaign is to tweak the image of a city famous for photograph’s like the 1950 Robert Doisneau snapshot of a man and woman stealing a kiss. Wheels have only begun turning on the project, which is not to be publicly launched until June 2003. After convening a meeting of experts on gay tourism last month at City Hall for an initial brainstorming session, a marketing blitz was born.

Travel agents that cater to gay clients are planning package tours to coincide with summer festivals like Gay Pride parade, which last June drew a record half-million people. Ideas also include discount tours geared to the nightclub scene. Paris is paying special attention to the American gay community. An outdated guide called Gay Friendly France is being revamped for circulation at French tourism offices in the United States as of June 2003.

Capital competition

Paris is hardly the first European capital to target the gay tourist. Berlin, London and Lisbon among others have geared marketing toward gay and lesbian visitors, particularly in the United States, for years. "We’re not doing it discreetly," said Natascha Kompatzki, a spokeswoman for Berlin’s tourist office, adding that gays are "an important group" for the German capital.

London and Berlin, like Paris, have prominent gay districts, which are featured on their tourism Web sites along with listings for gay-friendly hotels and restaurants. But those cities have a natural advantage, said Remi Calmon, a spokesman for France’s 600-member National Union of Gay Businesses. "The French are not always — how shall I say this — the nicest people," said Calmon, whose group is part of Paris’ gay-friendly planning committee. "It’s one thing to bring tourists here, but when they arrive you can’t take an attitude with them."

Details of how to make Paris more people-friendly were still being worked out, he said. One idea that has sparked great interest was dreamed up in the small Loire Valley city of Le Mans, best known for its 24-hour auto race. On its own mission to attract gay tourism, Le Mans City Hall has drafted a "Lesbian and Gay Friendly Welcome Charter," which they mailed to local businesses. Membership is optional, and so far 37 establishments have signed up — including restaurants, bars, travel agencies, a body piercer and all the city’s hotels. Signatories paste rainbow-coloured stickers in their windows with the message "Welcome to Mans" and a smiley face to let customers know they are gay friendly. Supporters say the rainbow smiley face sends a message of tolerance. But others questioned the tactic as being perhaps a little too politically correct.

Agence France-Presse

August 10, 2003

France courts gay tourists, with Paris as main selling point

by Michel Blanchard
Gay tourism – long an important component of the U.S. travel industry – is expanding rapidly in France, where industry professionals are heavily promoting Paris as an ideal vacation spot for homosexuals. While the Spanish beach resorts of Ibiza or Sitges may be more glamorous, Paris has become "a gay destination that matters in Europe, in competition with Amsterdam," according to France’s national union for gay businesses, SNEG.

On a par with New York, Sydney or San Francisco, Paris is a holiday locale that has all of the standard advantages – great food, vibrant cultural life, historic sites – with the added benefit of a mix of "100 percent gay-friendly" attractions, said SNEG representatives Remy Calmon. The French capital, which currently has a gay mayor, boasts 100 restaurants, more than 90 bars, 17 clubs, 15 saunas and more than a dozen sex clubs that cater to gay clients, Calmon said, many of them clustered in the central Marais neighborhood.

"The party atmosphere in Paris is often associated with gay spots, some of which – like The Queen discotheque – are also frequented by a heterosexual clientele," he added. Although there are approximately four million gays and lesbians in France, the country’s researchers have never produced any figures estimating their spending power, but it is reputed to be very high.

Meanwhile, analysts say gays account for some 10 percent of the U.S. tourist industry’s revenues – a percentage not to be overlooked, and which has not gone unnoticed by France’s travel experts. The Paris tourist board now has a link for gay travellers on its Web site, while the country’s travel promotion board has launched a vast marketing campaign aimed at luring gay Americans to France. The SNEG says most of the gay foreigners visiting France are Belgian, Dutch or German, but notes that Americans, Australians and Italians are increasingly part of the mix.

Although Paris is the main attraction, homosexuals are also visiting the main cities in southern France, like Marseille, Montpellier and Toulouse. Bed and breakfasts in the region are particularly popular, according to SNEG. While tourist boards try to draw foreigners to Paris and other destinations in France, specialized travel agencies are cropping up across the country to help French homosexuals plan trips to other gay-friendly spots worldwide. Eurogays, an agency located in the Marais that put out a 40-page brochure for potential clients, posted turnover last year of more than 2.5 million euros ($2.8 million), according to commercial director Basilio Simoes. "Gays don’t want to just stay amongst themselves – they want to receive a warm welcome wherever they go. It’s important to be able to ask for a room with a double bed without getting a strange look in return," Simoes said.

Hors-Serie, based in the northern French city of Lille, offers its trips in 13 agencies across the country under the banner of the mainstream Toulouse-based AFAT network – the French Association of Tourism Agencies. The founder of Hors-Serie, Jean-Luc Dufrenne, hopes to earn 100,000 to 150,000 euros a year per agency, each of which sports a rainbow sticker in the window, the universal symbol of the gay community.

While France’s tourist industry has suffered as a whole in 2003 due to a series of bad breaks ranging from forest fires to fallout from the Iraq war, business at gay-friendly travel agencies is booming. "July was a really excellent month for us," said one agent at OK Tours near Les Halles in central Paris, which caters to a predominantly gay clientele. She had just sold two 7,000-euro trips to Guatemala and Mexico. The Internet poses a formidable threat to agency sales, industry experts say, as there are a multitude of gay travel sites and Websurfing offers total discretion.

Agence France-Presse

11 May 2004

Socialists rally behind gay marriage

Paris – France’s opposition Socialists, spurred on by their allies in the Greens party – one of whom plans to celebrate France’s first gay marriage next month, on Tuesday urged the French to back homosexual marriage. Socialist party leader Francois Hollande told AFP he would ask his party to file a draft law that would put civil marriage on France’s statute books, no matter what the gender of the two people asking to be married. "Every society should be organised on the principle of equal rights and respect. As a result, marriage should be open to everybody," Hollande said.

Hollande’s comments came as Greens parliamentary deputy and former presidential candidate Noel Mamere planned to celebrate France’s first same-sex marriage between two men on June 5. Mamere, the mayor of Begles in the suburbs of the southwestern city of Bordeaux, has said that nothing in French law specifies that marriages must be between a man and a woman, and has threatened to take any challenge to the European Court of Human Rights.

French Justice Minister Dominique Perben has countered by saying that any gay marriage would be null and void, and has called on judicial authorities to block the ceremony. Former finance minister and party heavyweight Dominique Strauss-Kahn backed Hollande in an interview with the left-leaning Liberation, adding that he supported the adoption of children by gay or lesbian couples. "What has marriage become? A solemn declaration of love between two beings who love each other, and a contract to protect the interests and inheritance of the partners. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t see any reason to deny this to two people of the same sex," Strauss-Kahn said.

"Sexual orientation does not determine one’s ability to raise a child," he noted, adding: "What counts is the happiness of the child and his future, whether with a heterosexual or a homosexual couple." Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, one of France’s few openly gay politicians, said he was "obviously for adoption by homosexual parents". On the issue of gay marriage, he reiterated that he supported "equal rights", provided there was a "legal component".

Although the Netherlands and Belgium are the only European countries to allow same-sex civil marriages, France and several other states allow civil unions for both heterosexual and homosexual couples. France’s Civil Solidarity Pact (known as PACS) was introduced in 1999 and gives all adult couples, including homosexual ones, many of the same fiscal and social rights as married partners.

New York Times ( )

May 20, 2004

Paris Journal: Losing Its Nonchalance, France Feuds Over Gay Vows

by Elaine Sciolino
Paris – Until recently, the French assumed they had solved the issue of gays and marriage in a most civilized manner. The raw political debates and the spectacle of same-sex weddings in the United States were little more than a source of bemusement, what a Frenchman might call "a tempest in a glass of water." After all, the French were the inventors of the Civil Solidarity Pact, a creative legal mechanism introduced in 1999 that gives all adult couples – regardless of gender or sexual orientation – many of the same fiscal and social rights as those who are formally wedded.

But that was before Noël Mamère, the leader of France’s tiny leftist Green Party and a member of Parliament, announced last month that he would defy tradition (and some would say the law) by officiating at the country’s first gay wedding ceremony. Like many French politicians, Mr. Mamère holds multiple offices. So he is using his perch as mayor of an obscure southwest town named Bègles to conduct his social experiment, joining two thirty-something men, a supermarket clerk and a health-care worker, in marriage on June 5. "France is a hypocritical country," said Mr. Mamère in explaining his decision.

"Marriage here is traditionally considered a Judeo-Christian value, a very strong symbol organized around heterosexuality. For many, the validity of marriage is procreation. It’s an extremely archaic vision in my opinion, an idea encased in glass. The Americans are much more advanced in the fight against discrimination despite their puritanical and their slightly Protestant bent." Mr. Mamère argues that nothing in the Napoleonic Code, the vast compilation of civil laws that has governed since 1804, specifies that marriage has to be between a man and a woman. He has also threatened to take any challenge of his action to the European Court of Human Rights, a European Union court based in Strasbourg.

His crusade has enraged the center-right French government, riven the Socialist Party and touched off a fierce intellectual battle in newspaper opinion columns and television talk shows over the rights of homosexuals in France. "Marions-Nous" ("Marry Us"), screamed the cover headline of the most recent issue of Le Monde’s glossy weekly magazine, illustrated with the faces of two smiling men apparently lying on flowered pillows. Justice Minister Dominique Perben has served notice that Mr. Mamère’s gay marriage will be null and void in the eyes of the French state.

"To argue that sexual difference between spouses is not written into the civil code is to lie," Mr. Perben told the right-leaning daily Le Figaro. Discrimination against gays in France was enshrined in French law until the Socialists came to power in 1981. The age of consent for heterosexual couples was 15, but 18 for homosexual couples until 1982, when the law was changed to allow all 15-year-olds the right to consensual sex. "Police kept surveillance files on people who had sex with someone of the same gender," wrote Frédéric Martel, a French sociologist in his book on homosexuality in France, "The Pink and the Black."

"Laws required civil servants and tenants to behave like ‘good family men.’ And films and books were censored." Today, for the majority of the French, even homosexual marriage is no big deal. According to a poll released this week by the Ipsos polling agency, 57 percent of all Frenchmen and 75 percent of those under 35 believe that gay couples should be allowed to marry. That compares with only 24 percent in the United States, other polls show. Still, France is more conservative than much of the rest of Europe, far behind Denmark (82 percent) and the Netherlands (80 percent), for example, as well as Luxembourg, Sweden, Spain, Belgium. Norway, Switzerland and Germany.

The Civil Solidarity Pact initative gives couples housing rights, health and welfare benefits, the right to file a joint tax return and to inheritance. But proponents of gay marriage insist that it is marriage-lite, an unsatisfying compromise that does not go far enough. It does not allow couples to adopt children, for example. Couples have to wait three years before they can file joint tax returns. It is sometimes difficult for a non-French partner in a civil pact to receive a residence permit or French citizenship, especially for foreigners from places like North Africa.

Lynne Petrovic, a 38-year-old American therapist, and Ségolène Rubin, a 36-year-old Frenchwoman, were joined by a civil solidary pact at the French consulate in San Francisco in 2001 and married on Valentine’s Day at San Francisco’s city hall. But they want to be married under French law largely so that they can share custody over Ms. Rubin’s biological son. "It’s not gay marriage in the end that worries the French," says Ms. Rubin. "It’s homosexuals raising kids." But, she adds: "We’re not militants. We’re talking about a little family unit. It’s our reality."

If reality is the guide, Mr. Mamère’s gay marriage project is unlikely to go very far. Still, it has created odd fissures, particularly in the Socialist Party, which championed the civil solidarity pact in the first place. The Socialist – and openly gay – mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, for example, has not fully embraced the idea, calling same-sex marriages "a little bit less urgent than the question of parenting."

The former prime minister and former Socialist Party leader, Lionel Jospin, has declared his opposition, writing in Le Journal du Dimanche last Sunday that that marriage is the union of a man and a woman "first and foremost" because the "duality of the sexes characterizes our existence and is the condition for procreation." François Hollande, meanwhile, the current head of the Socialist Party, has suggested that it might be advisable to eventually change the law to allow gay marriage. "Every society should be organized on the principle of equal rights and respect," he said.

"As a result, marriage should be open to everybody." He called Mr. Jospin "a free man" to "express his own opinions." Mr. Hollande has an unusual marital arrangement himself. He and Ségolène Royal, a Socialist deputy in Parliament and the mother of his four children, have never married. Ms. Royal has only addressed the issue of gay adoption, which she opposes. As for Mr. Mamère, he seems delighted by the fuss he has stirred up. "If a provocateur is someone who advances the cause of society, then I am a provocateur," he says. "I prefer to call myself a man of courage."

Ariane Bernard contributed reporting for this article.

Agence France-Presse

France’s first gay marriage hits legal rocks

Bordeaux – The state prosecutor in the French city of Bordeaux on Friday asked a court to nullify France’s first gay wedding last week that a mayor carried out in defiance of warnings from authorities. Officials said the chief judge of the Bordeaux court would soon fix a date to hear the matter, and that he would order the shopkeeper and male nurse who married to appear. Bertrand Charpentier, 31, and Stephane Chapin, 34, were wedded in a ceremony in the Bordeaux suburb of Begles on June 5 by the local mayor, Noel Mamere, who is also a leading figure in the opposition Green party.

They have vowed to take their case before the European Court of Human Rights if the marriage is declared invalid, as the conservative government has threatened. Their union generated intense attention in France, where a civil contract known as PACS has since 1999 permitted couples – including same-sex ones – to attain some of the legal rights of marriage, but not others, notably those dealing with taxes and inheritance. President Jacques Chirac and his government have argued that French law stipulates a wedding can only be between a man and a woman, and have threatened to temporarily suspend Mamere as mayor.

But gay rights supporters argue the text is not that clear and, in any case, the country should adapt to new social realities. Although homosexual partnerships are recognised to varying degrees in several European countries, Belgium and the Netherlands are the only two states that recognise same-sex marriages.

Associated Press

July 27, 2004

Court annuls France homosexual marriage
couple will appeal to European Court of Human Rights

by Pierre Sauvey, Associated Press Writer
Bordeaux – The first gay couple to be married in France vowed Tuesday to fight a court decision that annulled their union and said any redefinition of marriage should be taken up by lawmakers. Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier, who exchanged vows on June 5, said they would appeal the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary and were confident of eventual victory. "We will win in the European Court, thus in France," said Charpentier said. "We are sure that we will win because we’ll take this as far as possible. Their lawyer called the ruling "reactionary."

"The marriage is valid until at least the court of appeal rules," said attorney Emmanuel Pierrat. But the court in southwestern Bordeaux said any redefinition of marriage "must be debated and requires the intervention of the legislature." Chapin and Charpentier last month exchanged vows in a highly publicized ceremony in the Bordeaux suburb of Begles. The government immediate said the marriage was not legal. The mayor who presided over the ceremony, Noel Mamere of the left-wing Greens Party, was stripped of his official duties for a month.

In its ruling, the court said that gay couples are already covered under the so-called PACs legislation that grants non-married cohabiting couples of the same or opposing sexes some of the rights enjoyed by married couples. Currently, homosexual marriage is legal in at least five countries – the state of Massachusetts in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Canada’s three most populous provinces. French leaders on both sides of the political aisle – ruling conservatives and opposition Socialists – have spoken out against legalizing same-sex marriages. However, the tide may be turning against the French ruling class. Polls here suggest that a majority of the French would support gay marriage, and Spain’s new Socialist leader, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero supports legalizing same-sex marriage. In a recent poll, two-thirds of Spaniards approved of same-sex marriage.

September 21, 2004

Paris Gay Mayor Attacks French Homophobia

by Malcolm Thornberry
Paris – Bertrand Delanoe, the openly gay mayor of Paris, has accused the government of President Jacques Chirac of sitting by idly while homophobia runs rampant throughout France.
In his new autobiography, Delanoe says Chirac has failed to fulfill any of his campaign promises to defend the rights of gays and lesbians. His book – entitled Life, passionately -Delanoe says Chirac paid lip service to gays only to get their vote in the President’s 2002 re-election campaign.

At the time, Chirac promised during an interview with the gay magazine Tetu to push for a law against homophobia but once he was elected he dropped the idea. "Since 2002 … no progress has been made," Delanoe writes. "Associations still do not have the right to launch civil action suits (to prosecute homophobic acts), as they can for racist or anti-Semitic crimes. And yet homophobia continues to hit hard."

The 54-year-old Delanoe, in 2001, was elected the capital’s first ever Socialist mayor. He writes in the book that French attitudes towards gays has evolved over the last 20 years, largely as a result of AIDS – and "in some quarters to be homophobic is seen as a sign of poor taste". But he says the progress is relative. "Outside certain circles homosexuality is still something to be endured. In small towns, and especially in the countryside, homos are condemned to secrecy. To be homo is to be different, from a minority – not like the rest," he writes.

In 1998, while he was a relatively obscure city councilor, Delanoe came out in a television interview, breaking and unwritten French law that a politician’s private life should remain private. He writes that his friends urged him not to go public, but that he overruled them because of the good he felt it would do to advance gay rights. "Would not my intervention help even if only in a small way to lighten the burden of secrecy borne by so many people," he writes. France’s powerful Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy recently accused Delanoe of "confessing" his homosexuality as a political ploy ahead of the Paris elections.

In reality I am extremely modest when it comes to my private life," he writes in the book. "Can one say the same of Nicolas Sarkozy? … You spend the whole time not just confessing your heterosexuality but putting it on parade, conniving in the lavish media coverage of your family life," he writes. In 2002 Delanoe was stabbed by during a public event at the Paris City Hall. The perpetrator was later found mentally unfit to stand trial. Despite his support for gay rights, Delanoe is not an ardent supporter of same-sex marriage. After a mayor in southern France earlier this year performed a gay marriage which was later declared invalid, Delanoe said there were greater issues facing the country’s gay community.

Washington Times, Washington, DC

December 12, 2004

France ready to add more rights to civil pact

by Delphine Soulas, The Washington Times
Rennes –
As France celebrates the fifth anniversary of its "Pacte Civil de Solidarite" (PaCS for short; in English, Civil Solidarity Pact) – a law that gives same-sex couples certain social, legal and financial benefits – the government is preparing changes to satisfy additional demands of homosexuals without opening the debate they seek regarding homosexual "marriage," still illegal in France.

"I am amazed of the adaptability of our society. The PaCS is now part of the base of the social contract," said Roselyne Bachelot, a conservative politician who voted for the PaCS in the national Parliament in 1999 – against the views of her Union for a Popular Movement – the UMP party of President Jacques Chirac, whose opposition has since changed. "In five years, it has become a triumph," she recently told Le Monde newspaper.

Since the law was adopted on Nov. 15, 1999, more than 130,000 such contracts have been signed nationwide, according to the Justice Ministry. Homosexual couples are not the only ones involved: Any two unmarried persons who want to live together can contract a PaCS, on condition they share common housing and are neither direct ascendants or descendants (mother, grandfather or child), nor too close relatives (brother, uncle or niece).

According to a French Parliament report issued two years after the law’s enactment, apparently about 60 percent of Civil Solidarity Pacts were concluded by heterosexual couples. "With its recognition in the civil code, the PaCS is putting an end to the monopoly marriage used to have in organizing the common social life of any two persons," said the parliamentary report in November 2001. However, the PaCS is more than just an alternative between marriage and cohabitation, as is the case for heterosexual couples. Because homosexual "marriages" are not recognized in France, the PaCS gives same-sex couples legal, fiscal and social advantages they never had before. For instance, if both people involved work for the same company, they are entitled to take their vacations at the same time. Civil servants also have priority in job transfers to relocate with their partner.

"The PaCS is, however, going far beyond these simple rights," concluded the parliamentary report. "For homosexuals, it is a real recognition. Despite the homophobic outburst it provoked, the PaCS unquestionably made homosexuality something ordinary," it concluded. According to various opinion surveys, more and more French people are in favor of the Civil Solidarity Pact.

In September 1998, when the debates in Parliament were very heated, popular support for the idea of the Civil Solidarity Pact was at 49 percent, and by 2003 it was 70 percent. Among homosexuals, attitudes are also changing. They are now more and more in favor of modifying the Civil Solidarity Pact. For instance, many are calling for the possibility to inherit a portion of the pension of a partner who dies. They also seek parity with married couples regarding inheritance-tax rules. While marriages are conducted in City Halls, Civil Solidarity Pacts are concluded in courts of first instance, something that advocates for homosexuals would also like to change.

In the 2005 finance bill adopted last month, Nicolas Sarkozy, then economic minister, abolished the three-year period needed before people who have concluded a PaCS can benefit from joint taxation. This was the first reform of the original Civil Solidarity Pact. Major changes may occur next spring. In November, a working group set up by the Justice Ministry composed of lawyers and homosexual-rights associations issued recommendations for improving the PaCS. For instance, the working group advocates mention of the Civil Solidarity Pact on the birth certificate of each person entering such a legal arrangement, but without naming the partner to avoid disclosing whether the union was homosexual.

In France, men and women getting married have the event, date, location and partner’s name noted on their own birth certificates. Justice Minister Dominique Perben is expected to introduce the reform in Parliament within three months. However, some homosexual organizations see improvement of the PaCS as perhaps a tactic to avoid a debate on same-sex "marriage" and the right of homosexuals to have children. "Improving the PaCS will never be an answer to the growing claim of same-sex couples who want to marry," said a press release from the Inter-LGBT (Interassociative Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans) association, which groups the main associations defending homosexuals. "We have not forgotten the promise made last summer of a national debate on marriage and the right to have children, and we are asking the government to organize this debate," said Inter-LGBT.

Most French politicians do not consider the adoption of the Civil Solidarity Pact as the first step toward legalizing same-sex "marriage," as has been done in the Netherlands, Belgium and, soon, Spain. "I think we should not mix these two different things. Experience shows that the PaCS could be improved, and I would like us to do so. But it should not lead to a travesty of marriage," said President Jacques Chirac in his Bastille Day interview on French television last July 14.

Two months earlier, former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin had already come out against same-sex "marriage," saying that, as an institution, marriage is in essence the union between a man and a woman. "It is possible to condemn and to fight homophobia without backing homosexual marriage," he wrote in a French Sunday newspaper.

Last June, however, Green party politician Noel Mamere, the mayor of Begles in southern France, set off a political uproar when he united two homosexual men in the country’s first homosexual "marriage." "I think today, we are acting toward tolerance. Your wedding is the first, and I hope it will soon become commonplace as it is in Belgium, in the Netherlands and in Spain," he said at the end of the civil ceremony. For breaking the law, Mr. Mamere was suspended from his mayoral duties for a month and the "marriage" was invalidated. "Same-sex marriage cannot be reduced to a simple ceremony. This legitimate right to marriage has to be part of a global reform of the law that would take into account matters related to the right to have children," insisted the Gay and Lesbian Center of Paris. The question of having children is central to the debate in France on same-sex "marriage."

"A child is not an asset that a heterosexual or homosexual couple can obtain. It is a person born from the union of a man and a woman, whatever kind the union is," wrote Mr. Jospin in his column last May. However, in July for the first time a French court recognized the joint parental authority of a lesbian couple who had given birth to three girls by artificial insemination. Because single women are not allowed in France to resort to this form of procreation, tens of thousands of French lesbian couples are having children outside France. Some go to Belgium for artificial inseminations while others try to do their own insemination at home, using kitchen implements.

Even if the July court decision opened new opportunities for homosexual couples to be recognized as parents, it is not a recognition of their right to bear children. Only the adoption of the offspring of the partner, or a joint adoption, would give equal rights to both parents. But at this time, adoption is legal only for heterosexual couples. "The opening of marriage to homosexual couples is widely debated in society. The reform of the PaCS cannot result in neglecting this debate," said the authors of the November recommendations to the Justice Ministry.

Agence France-Presse

April 20, 2005

Court annuls first gay marriage

Bordeaux – An appeals court in the southwestern French city of Bordeaux today confirmed the annulment of the country’s first-ever gay marriage which was celebrated in a municipal office last June.

Stephane Chapin, 34, and Bertrand Charpentier, 31, were married in a ceremony officiated by a leading Green member of parliament, but the wedding was declared illegal by a lower court the following month. "We will keep going to the end. We are ready for a new fight. We will take it to the high court of appeal," Mr Charpentier said. "Our love has only strengthened over the last year. We thought there was equality in France. But justice rules that homosexuals must remain marginalised," said Mr Chapin.

April 19, 2005

European Court May Take Up Gay Marriage Issue

Bordeaux – The first gay couple to be married in France lost an appeals court battle Tuesday to have their union legally recognized but vowed to keep on fighting. Bertrand Charpentier and Stephane Chapin were married by Noel Mamere, the mayor of Begles on June 5 as television cameras recorded the event. " Your marriage is a first, and I hope it will become something normal," said Mamere, who is also Green member of parliament. But, the government immediately moved to have the marriage annulled and Mamere was suspended from office for a month for performing the ceremony.

On July 27, a lower court agreed with the government, and in its ruling said that same-sex couples are already covered under the so-called PACs legislation that grants non-married cohabiting couples of the same or opposing sexes some of the rights enjoyed by married couples. Charpentier and Chapin immediately appealed. In today’s ruling the appellate court in Bordeaux upheld the lower court’s decision and ruled that any redefinition of marriage should be taken up by lawmakers. The couple said they would appeal the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. "We are disappointed. We thought we had the right to equality," said Chapin. "The justice system has decided that homosexuals should stay in their corner," he added. "We are going to do everything to have the freedom to love each other."

Leaders of France’s two major parties – the ruling conservatives and opposition Socialists – have spoken out against legalizing same-sex marriages. However, polls here have suggested that a majority of the French would support gay marriage. One survey showed 64 percent of the French were in favor of same-sex ma
rriages, while 49 percent said they would also approve of gay couples adopting children.

Agence France Presse

June 6, 2005

Priest hurt in mock gay marriage–calls gays ‘barbaric’

A priest was slightly hurt at Paris’s famed Notre-Dame Cathedral when clashes broke out between church security personnel and gay rights activists who performed a mock marriage of two lesbians.

About 20 members of the group Act Up entered the cathedral and proceeded to perform the mock marriage in front of baffled tourists and worshippers, according to an AFP correspondent at the scene.One activist – dressed as a priest – pronounded the two women married, while other Act Up members chanted: "Pope Benedict XVI, homophobe, AIDS accomplice."

With security officials in pursit, they then fled the cathedral, but clashes broke out outside the Paris landmark, during which Monsignor Patrick Jacquin suffered a minor neck injury. He was treated at the scene.The demonstration marked the first anniversary of France’s first gay wedding, performed last year in the Bordeaux suburb of Begles. The union of two men has since been declared null and void by the French courts.Monsignor Jacquin said: "They are savages. I was pushed to the ground and trampled, kicked in the neck."It’s a scandal for these people to lash out at me and the Pope."

He said he was considering filing charges against what he called "barbaric, odious and scandalous acts".The president of Act Up Paris, Jerome Martin – who participated in today’s demonstration – said he had also been hit in the melee, but claimed the priest had exaggerated the actual events."We did not want to be aggressive with respect to the worshippers… the aggressive security detail wanted to rip up our banner," he said.Earlier, the Act Up activists demonstrated outside Paris city hall, denouncing homophobia and calling for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

United Press International

July 4, 2005

Most French against gay adoptions

Paris – A new poll finds most French oppose adoptions by homosexuals, despite a surge of gay pride in the country.

A survey published Monday by the Internet forum,, finds 58 percent of Internet respondents surveyed believe same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children. The right of gay adoption was at the center of the gay pride march Saturday in Paris.

Moreover, some 47 percent of French Internet users surveyed opposed gay marriage, compared to 40 percent who said they supported it. The poll comes on the heels of new legislation in neighboring Spain making it legal for same-sex couples to marry and adopt. The law makes Spain only the third country in the world to make gay marriage legal, after The Netherlands and Belgium.
Canada is expected to legalize gay marriage this month. In France, legislation grants gay couples certain rights, but stops short of fully recognizing them as married couples. France’s first same-sex marriage last year was ruled illegal in court.

United Press International

October 19, 2005

French conservatives blast gay posters

Paris – Conservative French activists are seeking to end a gay publicity campaign launched ahead of major pro-gay exposition outside Paris. At issue are some 1,900 posters (photo right) plastered across the French capital, including many on city buses and metros, depicting same-sex couples embracing. The campaign aims to publicize a three-day "Rainbow Attitude Expo" celebrating gay life that begins Friday at a convention hall at the edge of Paris.The posters have sparked outrage on the part of the conservative Federation Families Media, which has called the publicity "aggressive."

The group sponsored a survey by the IFOP polling agency, which found 62 percent of French found "that a poster that shows two women or two men kissing is susceptible of troubling children." Rainbow Attitude has responded with its own statistics — a separate Louis Harris poll in August, showing two-thirds of French believe a homosexual couple is able to raise a child as successfully as a heterosexual one, Le Figaro newspaper reported Wednesday.

Doug Ireland News

November 26, 2005

Pierre Seel, the Last French ‘Pink Triangle’ Dies at 82

Pierre Seel, the last French survivor among the homosexuals sent to Nazi concentration camps, has died, it was announced in Paris

For an account of Seel’s life in the concentration camp of Struthof, and his subsequent fight for recognition as "deported for
homosexuality," click on:

Agence France Presse

December 6, 2005

French lesbians go to Belgium seeking to be pregnant

Paris – French lesbians have been crossing the border to Belgium in search of medical procedures to get pregnant, which are denied in France, creating a new sort of baby boom at Belgian fertility clinics. “ In Belgium, we were welcomed without any judgment,” said Marie-Pierre Micoud, 41, a marketing director, and her partner Nathalie Bassac, 43, a midwife, who conceived three boys by artificial insemination.

“ More and more women are making the trip from Paris to Brussels to have children through artificial insemination by an anonymous donor,” said Franck Tanguy, who works with an association of homosexual parents and want-to-be-parents.
Read more at following link: