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Main focus of Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Assembly approves gay marriage

Opponents of the reform plan to protest again on March 24. (© dapd)

France's National Assembly voted in favour of introducing same-sex marriage and adoption rights for gay couples by a clear majority on Tuesday. The controversial bill was passed with 329 deputies in favour and 229 against. Commentators see the decision as a triumph for the Hollande government and as a signal that the Church should not interfere in the debate.

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

A stage victory for Hollande

The French National Assembly's approval for same-sex marriage and adoption rights for gays is a landmark victory for the Hollande government even if the next major challenges are just around the corner, the daily Tages-Anzeiger writes: "François Hollande has set the tone - in form and in content. ... Naturally he owes his new image above all to the surprisingly resolute military intervention in Mali, which has earned him pats on the back from his foreign allies. The public's perception of the president has changed swiftly; his ratings are going up. But as a political turning point the right to marriage and adoption for homosexual couples is probably more significant. It will be interesting to see how he deals with the pressure he will soon face from circles that should really be well-disposed towards him: angry teachers, disappointed factory workers from the ailing automotive industry, worried pensioners. He has yet to face a true test in social or economic policy." (13/02/2013)

Libération - France

A sign against the ultra-conservative Church

With its decision in favour of same-sex marriages and adoption rights for homosexual couples, the National Assembly has sent a signal to the Church not to interfere in politics, the left-liberal daily Libération writes approvingly: "The French Church is in a profound, perhaps irreversible crisis. Nevertheless its determination to influence public debate and the determination of some of its groups to defend the most reactionary values have never seemed so strong. And this Church in decline has announced further political battles against artificial insemination for same-sex couples and surrogate motherhood. It shows good will to fanatic anti-abortionists and continues to defend abstinence over contraception. Whoever the next pope is, secular society must stand firm in the face of this religious intrusion. Yesterday's vote in favour of same-sex marriage in the National Assembly was a reassuring response." (13/02/2013)

Frankfurter Rundschau - Germany

Germany must now follow suit

German politicians have for years rejected equal rights for homosexual and heterosexual couples, the liberal daily Frankfurter Rundschau writes, seeing the decision of the French National Assembly as a shining example: "It is the French lawmakers that have put an end to discrimination against sexual identity. And the resistance hasn't come from the French people, but from a significant conservative minority that has been opposing it on the streets for the last few months. As for Germany, the government has not tabled a bill on the issue, and there has been no popular protest one way or the other. Here everything points to the Federal Constitutional Court demanding adoption rights for homosexual couples next Tuesday in the name of the Basic Law. Meanwhile the conservative-liberal government has put up passive resistance to such a move for years. ... Nevertheless equal rights for homosexual partnerships is first and foremost not a legal problem, but a political task. It falls to the legislator. And putting it off any longer would simply be immoral." (13/02/2013)

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