Friday, January 14, 2011

In France, civil unions aren't just for same sex couples

A pacte civil de solidarité in France is a civil union, something like a civil marriage, originally intended to help same-sex couples formalize their relationship, without expanding the official scope of marriage.  But these civil unions are easier to dissolve than formal marriages, and (the NY Times reports), opposite sex couples are also finding this less formal kind of union attractive: In France, Civil Unions Gain Favor Over Marriage

"French couples are increasingly shunning traditional marriages and opting instead for civil unions, to the point that there are now two civil unions for every three marriages.

"When France created its system of civil unions in 1999, it was heralded as a revolution in gay rights, a relationship almost like marriage, but not quite. No one, though, anticipated how many couples would make use of the new law. Nor was it predicted that by 2009, the overwhelming majority of civil unions would be between straight couples.

"It remains unclear whether the idea of a civil union, called a pacte civil de solidarité, or PACS, has responded to a shift in social attitudes or caused one. But it has proved remarkably well suited to France and its particularities about marriage, divorce, religion and taxes — and it can be dissolved with just a registered letter."

Meanwhile, in Britain, which also has civil partnerships, a lawsuit is underway to change the fact that both same sex marriage and different sex civil partnerships are illegal:

"Eight British couples will argue that the twin bans on same-sex marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships are unlawful and should be reversed.
"Over the last two months four homosexual couples have all been refused marriage licenses at register offices across England, while four heterosexual couples were turned away when they applied for civil partnership status.
"The couples will file a joint application to the court today, which is the fifth anniversary of the first civil partnership ceremonies in England."  

1 comment:

אסף said...

Regretably, this is similar to the situation in Israel. While claiming not to be motivated by racist feelings, Israeli law still does not allow mixed-religion marriage. A recent law finally legalized some form of civil union, but it is restricted to "religion-less" people (both partners must not have any religious affiliation), thus limiting the effect to about 100 couples a year at most.