Liberté, Egalité, Homosexualité: On Progress

Some very spirited eclaires...
A year ago, I was walking to the Marais district with some friends, about to have a celebratory drink. The streets were ablaze with excitement, especially around the local mayor’s office, which was about to see a whole lot of action soon. Drag queens waved rainbow flags on scooters and the party poured into the streets from local bars, with a largely male clientele.

It was an early gay pride when on May 18, 2013, France legalized same-sex marriage. Who would have thought that a country with a reputation for sticking to tradition would take a leap? At the same time, with a very different idea of masculinity and what it means to be in a committed relationship in France, it’s not entirely surprising…but I digress.

A few drinks and a nightlong celebration were only the beginning. Just over a month later in June, the US Supreme Court struck down that bit of the Defense of Marriage Act which prevented same-sex marriages from being recognized on a federal level. For many, this means nothing, but imagine the implications for lesbians and gays abroad. It was a big year. Very big.

Since that historic spring, the Figaro reported that 7000 same-sex couples have tied the knot in France, a mere 4% of total marriages, but be it 7 or 7 million, it’s an amazing headline to read no matter what.

For same-sex couples in France or the US, the door has swung wide open, meaning issues of immigration and federal protection are no longer concerns. A marriage in France is recognized in the US, which is amazing for those who have committed themselves to international relationships. There are no worries of leaving a partner behind or having to choose where to live based on which country accepts you. Unless you want to live in like, Uganda. Or Saudi Arabia.

A little July 14th pride...

Much like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt once vowed to get married when the US allowed same-sex marriages, I once told a friend I wouldn’t move back to the US until it was legal. At the time, in France, there was the PACS, a near-equal civil union for all couples, which was far from perfect. Now, same-sex marriages are legal in the US and France, so there’s no greener grass on that front anymore.

What’s all of this mean in the end? Well, wedding bells are hardly ringing any more than they were before, and I have yet to attend a same-sex wedding in France – I’ve only been to one heterosexual wedding in Paris for that matter. 

The Figaro also reported that there are fewer marriages overall, and among same-sex couples, most were on average much older than my little social group. Just because everyone can get married doesn’t mean we’re all going to rush into things now…not yet at least.