“Equality in 2007” – That was the slogan as thousands of revellers gathered at the annual gay pride parade in Paris, a year before France’s presidential election. Gay issues are set to play a key part in the pre-poll debate. They are included in a policy platform just adopted by the Socialists.
Former Culture Minister Jack Lang is hoping to be their candidate. “The Socialist party, clearly, definitely, is firmly committing itself so that as soon as we are elected next year we can get a law passed, or two laws perhaps, on gay marriage and the recognition of gay adoption,” he said. The Socialist presidential front-runner Segolene Royal had been much colder about gay rights but this week she said she supported gay marriages, in an abrupt policy U-turn. Meanwhile, her main conservative rival, Nicolas Sarkozy, has hinted he might drop his long-standing opposition to same-sex marriage. French law allows basic civil unions between homosexuals, but gay partners argue they are at a disadvantage to heterosexual married couples in terms of taxes, adoption rights and inheritance.