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French PM's postponement of family bill provokes anger among ruling Socialists and Greens

Trademark flag of the Manif Pour Tous movement, Paris, 2 February, 2014
Trademark flag of the Manif Pour Tous movement, Paris, 2 February, 2014 Reuters/Benoit Tessier

There is anger among some members of France’s ruling coalition parties following the news that the government is to shelve plans for a new Family Law until, at the earliest, 2015.

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Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault made the announcement yesterday.

He also made clear that any such law, when it is put forward, would not include measures to extend medically assisted reproduction to lesbian couples or to legalise the use of surrogate mothers by gay couples.

Ayrault’s entourage emphasised that the announcement was the result of “close consultation” with President Hollande.

Spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem justified the decision to postpone the introduction of the bill by insisting the government needed more preparation time, blaming a dense parliamentary schedule, and noting the “hysterical” climate surrounding policies concerning the family at the moment.

Some Socialists and Green party members are angry at what they see as the government’s capitulation following Sunday’s demonstration against the government’s family policies.

The family law was to include new legal rights for step-parents and changes to the rules on adoption.

Ludovine de la Rochere, the head of the Manif Pour Tous (Protest for All) movement which organised the demonstration on Sunday, said the government's decision was a victory for the movement.

"What was outlined in this bill was not conducive to the interests of children or of the family," she said.

However Emmanuelle Cosse, the leader of the green party, EELV, which is currently part of the coalition government, urged the Socialists to reconsider.

“This renunciation, a day after the mobilisation of the reactionary camp, is appalling," Cosse said.

Socialist MP Cécile Untermaier said "It's a bad sign because we mustn't give in on family issues because there are many important questions to sort out concerning adoption, divorce, parenthood."

The row comes at a crucial time for President Francois Hollande's deeply unpopular government, ahead of municipal elections next month and European Parliament elections in May.

 

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