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Topics In the News
French President Calls for Universal Decriminalization of Homosexuality
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 09/26/12
Last updated on: 09/28/12
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President François Hollande.

Although the mainstream media has made his condemnation of the Syrian regime the main takeaway from French President François Hollande's inaugural speech to the United Nations on September 25, 2012, he also made an impassioned plea for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality.

President Hollande pledged that France would assume a leadership position in the struggle for universal human freedoms, including an end to the criminalization of homosexuality.

"France will continue to engage in all these struggles: for the abolition of the death penalty, for women's rights to equality and dignity, for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality, which should not be recognized as a crime but, on the contrary, recognized as a [sexual] orientation."

He added: "All member countries have the obligation to guarantee the security of their citizens, but if a nation fails this obligation, it is then imperative that we, the United Nations, facilitate the necessary means to make that guarantee. These are the issues that France will lead and defend in the United Nations."

During his campaign for the presidency, Hollande expressed support for both marriage equality and adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples. He defeated former President Nicholas Sarkozy, an opponent of marriage equality, in May 2012.

As the UPI reported on August 26, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault recently announced that his government would introduce national marriage equality legislation by the end of October.

"In October, we will send a bill to the National Assembly and the Senate to allow same-sex couples to marry," Ayrault is quoted as saying. "It would also allow them to form families and adopt children."

Although more than 60% of French citizens favor same-sex marriage and Hollande's Socialist Party controls both houses of the French national legislature, the Roman Catholic Church has pledged to campaign fiercely against the legislation.

For more on the draft marriage equality legislation recently released, see Dan Littauer's report in Gay Star News.

Below is an excerpt from President Hollande's speech to the United Nations, courtesy of Towleroad.

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