Bill Muehlenberg is absolutely beside himself at the French Court of Cassation’s (their plus ou moins equivalent of our SCOTUS) rejection of same sex civil marriage:
But the real story here is about all those places which have not legalised it, and/or have fought against it. The media tends not to play up these stories. But there have been a number of defeats for the homosexual lobby on this issue. For example just recently in France the Constitutional Council has ruled that there is no conflict between the current law banning homosexual marriage and the rights enshrined in the nation’s constitution.
Here is how the story has been reported: “France’s Constitutional Council, its highest court for constitution issues, ruled on Friday that the country’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman is valid under French constitution.
“The definition was challenged by two lesbians who conceived children by artificial insemination and wanted to legally call their relationship a ‘marriage.’ They battled for rights reserved for married couples, including inheritance rights and joint custody. The case was passed to the Council by the French Court of Cassation in November and the court decision was issued on Friday.
“The Council ruled that the ‘difference in situations of same-sex couples and couples made up of a man and a woman … can justify a difference in treatment concerning family rights.’ The panel’s decision was supported by two articles in France’s civil code ‘in conformity with the constitution’ that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, reported the Globe and Mail.”
The trout in the milk here is the existence of civil unions in France.
France has had civil unions since 1999. What’s different from what we have here, however, is that they are available to both same sex and opposite sex couples. Since their institution civil unions have become de rigeur amongst opposite sex couples who wish legal recognition of their relationship. This is because a) entry and exit is much simpler and b) the secular French consider marriage a religious institution, which drives them away from marriage and towards civil unions. (Re the latter, they’re right, it is a religious institution.)
Today 95% of civil unions are between opposite sex couples and, if present trends continue, it won’t be long before civil unions outnumber marriages. There may be a few maudlin sentimentalists in the French LGBT community about marriage, but they’re trampled in the rush by the rest of society which is moving towards civil unions. This may be one explanation of the French Court’s blasé attitude towards same sex civil marriage.
It’s also worth noting that, in France, ministers of the Gospel are not allowed to be agents of the state in civil marriage. This is why people of faith there “get married twice,” once by the state and again by the church (unless you’re King Leopold III of Belgium, in which case you reverse the order.) Although there may well be a French law or regulation prohibiting the ecclesiastical solemnisation of a civil union, I don’t see a Biblical reason why a Christian couple can’t be united under a civil union before the state and in marriage before God.
Personally I would prefer the state to stay out of the relationship recognition business altogether, but the French idea of civil unions for everyone is the best “Plan B” I’ve seen. It sure beats the idiotic situation we have here in the US.
Mr. Muehlenberg, like many advocates of “traditional marriage,” needs to do a little deeper digging before he blows the trumpet of victory.