whoever you want to be…

Marriage For All – Free For All

Yesterday, my 3 year old daughter slipped me the tongue: she French-kissed me.

It was, of course, completely innocent.  We were sitting on the couch, she on my lap with our stomachs facing, her head on my shoulder. She reached up, pulled my head down close to give me a kiss… and then she added something special.

Shocked (and slightly skeeved), I immediately reacted by drawing away. To her 3-year-old brain, I had decided to play and suddenly she had her tongue out and was trying to pin me. I couldn’t help wondering if she was making her sexual preferences known and then I wondered if I cared.

I decided that I didn’t (though I still kept dodging her).

This French-kissing incident (and the idea that my youngest was revealing that she digs chicks (though it could, of course, just be that she loves her maman quite a lot and was just goofing around)) brought to mind the whole Mariage Pour Tous broo-ha-ha that’s recently fired up France and how the streets of Paris have been alive for months with people showing their support for their preferred camp.

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Photo from Nouvel Observateur (so awesome)

Now, for a country whose very motto is Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (in the sense of brotherhood), the fact that there was actually a massive contingent of folks that believe(d) that certain rights don’t apply to  certain people based on their sexual orientation, sort of made (makes) my head explode.

I also don’t understand how these same Manif(estation) Pour Tous people can think that they’ll be taken seriously with a spokesperson who has a pseudonym like Frigide Barjot (à la Brigitte Bardot (who everyone has heard of from her younger St Tropez(?) years and who is now quite an activist, though I’m not sure of her effectiveness as she seems to carry a mantle of loony bird around with her)). Frigide means the same thing as English’s “frigid” (but also “sexless”) and Barjot means, quite simply, crazy.

She sounds like a great person to be representing one side of a democratic movement, non?

And yet!  While it was understandable that the number of people out in the streets was quite high in support of the potential new law giving homosexual couples the right to a civil marriage, given France’s motto it was surprising that there were quite a lot of people in the opposing camp: that didn’t believe that homosexual couples should have the right to marriage.

What was even more shocking was the number of kids that were brought along to these opposition walks that infiltrated the capital to show what a “proper” family should look like. I had to wonder what these families were doing: nurturing prejudices in children against homosexuals because they’re not “like us”, as though homosexuals are somehow “lesser” because obviously, they shouldn’t have the same rights.

These people quoted the sanctity of marriage sanctimoniously.

These people quoted the fact that children, which for some are the “purpose” of marriage, should have an adult member of each sex as a role model within the home.

I actually heard one guy on the news say, “It’s hard enough for straight folks to adopt a kid! If gay people are allowed to adopt too, then the couples that have already been waiting forever, will have to wait even longer.”

Right.

Now, I’m not even going to address the fellow who was worried about not being able to adopt because that’s pure foolishness.

However, the very idea that marriage between a man and woman is sanctity itself is ridiculous. Now, it’s been many, many years since those university history classes, but I distinctly remember writing a paper on marriage: it was slavery back in Roman times. There was nothing sacred about it. The wedding ring was simply a sign of “being owned”.

In terms of the marriage practice being transferred to Christianity when Christianity took over the reigns of civilization, The Old Testament clearly states (doesn’t it?) that Adam was Eve’s “master”. It was her punishment for eating that stupid apple (that some stories say she didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to eat) from the Tree of Wisdom: that for all of eternity, woman would be dominated and ordered around by man, her master.

Doesn’t anyone think that perhaps Christianity pulled this into their ideology because woman was already a slave? Making the tyranny official, if you will. Fantastic: that’s totally a valid argument for the sanctity of marriage. Really.

I asked my in-laws what they thought. Unsurprisingly, they opposed the new law because of the idea of children needing both types of adult as role models to grow up “properly”.

What the hell is “growing up properly”?

Because, honestly, before our era here in our comfy Western civilization, there were two facts that kept life short for everyone. War culled the male population down and childbirth culled down the female population.

More families than not were in situations where one or both of the parents of the children in the household were, quite simply, dead. Widows remarried thereafter for protection but they often got more children into the bargain to (perhaps grudgingly) take care of because that was their role when remarrying a widower. While yes, the balance is still woman/man, how many of these marriages were actually for love?

Is that a model that’s worth fighting for? Is that really a “proper” environment for children to grow up within? Knowing that one or the other parent is grudgingly raising them? I’m sorry, I’d prefer kids to grow up loved.

Even in our own era, there are tons of single parents out there. Doesn’t that throw out the window the whole idea that you need two parents, one of each sex, to raise a kid “properly” already?

Personally, my opinion is that it’s really none of my business what people do in their own bedrooms. What matters in this era is love (and honestly, since men and women are so different psychologically, I can’t help but think that homosexual marriages will be a helluva lot more successful).

Writing this made me wonder: does this law make certain heterosexuals feel threatened?

Hmm…

This is what I told my in-laws: that marriage these days can be for love and that’s something that should be encouraged. Homosexuals shouldn’t be deprived of officialising their vows because of the sexual orientation they were born into. They gave me the impression that being homosexual was somehow “learned”. I responded that homosexuality being something learned was exactly like being born with a dark skin color was something “learned”.

Understandably, we dropped the subject because… I’m right. However, I found their point of view disturbing because it’s one that a lot of French people hold.

Thankfully though, on April 23, 2013, France passed the law: homosexuals can now marry here.  They can also adopt.

France’s inscrutable belief that everyone in this country should be able to enjoy Liberty, EGALITY and Fraternity won.

And because the French cannot help themselves, immediately thereafter certain opponents to the law, the law that was voted in democratically, filed some sort of non-constitutionality claim.

There’s little chance that their claim will have any affect on the law voted in, but that isn’t stopping the Manif Pour Tous people from continually clogging up the streets of Paris. I imagine that they’ll storm the first homosexual marriage if they can (which should be possible as of June 2013).

They should give it a rest: they lost democratically.

I’m grateful though that the law was passed, because if, indeed, my youngest decides that she needs to share kisses with another woman, should she decide to make France her home, she’ll have the liberté to do what she wants because by the time it’ll matter for her, the idea of égalité in this regard will be ingrained in the fraternité of her fellow citizens.

She’ll be accepted for who she is and won’t be an outcast within her own country.

At least I hope so.

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About jchevais

Canadian expat turned Parisian Burb Babe. It's so lovely.

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2013 by in Bea Current, Bea Family and tagged , , .
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