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The French react to same-sex marriage pledge from Prime Minister

By Marine Lardennois

A few weeks after the new Prime Minister of France, Jean-Marc Ayrault, made a big splash announcement about legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption, reactions have started to pop-up worldwide.

France is a country that does not allow same-sex marriage nor adoption for gay and lesbian couples and has been against this for a long time.

Lately, more and more teenagers – and even adults – have come out and have been accepting homosexuality. That may explain new data that shows 63% of people are in favor of same-sex marriage in France. The way people think has changed over the past years.

According to recent polls in the country, reactions are slightly different when it comes to these following standards : age, social situation and education.

20ish-year-old students with a modest social and financial situation are almost all in favor of gay marriage. That may be explained by influence from the cinema, the literature and the media that depict different types of sexuality.

Young people from France tend to be more open-minded and think that "it takes all sorts" to make a world. 

Most people over 35 think a bit different. Because of the "old education" they had, marriage is seen as a religious commitment and so cannot be legalized between two men or two women. 

Most of them said they would not accept a same-sex marriage within their family, but would support the legalization of same-sex marriage and adoption for other couples.

Sarah, 52, is an Italian teacher in Paris. She said, "I have been raised in a very religious environment and was taught that marriage was between a man and a woman that love each other. First, I was so not really excited about the Prime Minister's announcement. My education was a bit strict but now, I feel like our world as well as our sexualities are moving forward and even if religious people - and not only - wanted to 'erase' gay and lesbian communities, they would not be able to do so. That's how the world is today, full of different religions, cultures, traditions, sexualities and loves."

That announcement has definitely given rise to many different reactions - not only in France, but also in other countries where French communities are considerable, like in Quebec, Canada.

Montreal in Quebec is best known for the Gay Village - one of the biggest gay and lesbian-friendly areas in the world.

Most Canadians are used to accepting gay and lesbian people in society. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in Canada since June of 2005.

No matter what their age, their social and financial situation or their education are, 95% of Canadians are really excited about the legalization in France.

Mark, 28, is a student at the University of Montreal. He said, "I am French and I live in Montreal since 2007. It is amazing how people here are so friendly and tolerant about gays and lesbians. This is such an open-minded country. I am glad that my country is moving forward too, the world is changing so fast, we need to fit our mentalities to this new world. I can't wait for all of these changes to be legalized for good. I am so proud of France right now."

It will definitely take some time to put in people's mind that legalization of same-sex marriage and adoption is the right thing to do. But the 63% of French citizens that agree with the Prime Minister's announcement give hope for a more inclusive future.

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