According to the Daily Telegraph, ninety per cent of French “solidarity pacts” a year, some 135,000 of them, are now being made between people of the opposite sex, ‘despite them being designed for homosexuals, who are not formally allowed to marry in France’. Unlike in the UK, the Civil Solidarity Pacts, or PACS, are open to everyone, not just same sexers. The Telegraph lists some of the attractions of PACS over marriage. They
…take just 15 minutes and can be performed by a court clerk.
Just as significantly, they can be ended with a single letter from either partner, without any claims on the other’s money or property.
With divorce costs spiralling such a legal arrangement is particularly attractive to those potentially facing massive payouts if marriages fail.
The PACS provide near-identical financial and administrative protection as formal marriages, including the possibility of providing joint tax returns and enjoying deductions.
French councils also treat PACSed couples like married couples when assigning benefits or accommodation.
The PACS also allow couple to bypass social and Church conventions, many of which are viewed as outdated by younger generations.
This latter consideration should probably be placed rather further up in the list.
Either way this news is yet another indication that the gay American obsession with (politically impossible) marriage rather than (politically achievable) fully-recognised civil unions – ‘riding at the back of the bus!’ – is not just a giant tactical mistake but also culturally retrogressive, rather than the ‘giant leap for progress’ and ‘equality’ it is trumpeted as being by gay marriage zealots. Marriage seems to be a very dull historical cul de sac that even straight people don’t want to live on any more.
The French trend towards rejecting marriage for civil partnerships/unions also illustrates how unfair it is that British civil partnerships are not open to everyone – just same sex couples. The reason heterosexuals are denied that option is because when the legislation was being drawn up fears were expressed in Parliament that allowing heteros the choice would ‘undermine marriage’. (Which is rather revealing – even the champions of marriage obviously believe that marriage isn’t very appealing.)
But of course, marriage has undermined itself. Recently released figures in the UK show marriage is the most unpopular it’s ever been and suggest that the unwed will outnumber the wed within a year.