A politician who has pledged to attack same-sex adoption rights is the new favourite to be President of France… and his main opponent is a far-right nationalist.
François Fillon was the surprise winner of the centre-right conservative primary this month, edging out competition from former President Nicolas Sarkozy and Former Prime Minister Alain Juppé ahead of next year’s Presidential vote.
The hardline conservative candidate, a strong opponent of LGBT rights, is expected to face the National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in the Presidential run-off election next year, with incumbent Socialist President François Hollande suffering record-low approval ratings.
Mr Fillon, who strongly opposed the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013, has shrugged off calls to directly repeal same-sex unions if elected President – instead planning to pare back the rights of gay couples to adopt.
Under Fillon’s proposals, same-sex couples would be banned from fully adopting a child, under a new requirement that children must have both male and female parents.
In his platform, Fillon wrote: “A repeal of [same-sex marriage] is not possible… but without questioning the principle of marriage for same-sex couples, the rules concerning parentage must be reviewed, because it is in the child’s interest, which for me comes above all other factors.
I know that gay couples welcome children with love, but it does not seem right that the law allows to consider that a child is a son or daughter of two parents of the same sex.”
Mr Fillon continued to claim that the “biological” meaning of parenthood should be restored “in respect of a father and a mother”.
Under the change, which he insists would not be “retroactive”, full adoption would only be available to couples comprised of “two different sex parents”.
Same-sex couples would still be able to gain a lower tier of guardianship rights that exists under French law – but would never be able to be fully considered the parents of their children.
LGBT people will face a pretty horrendous choice between a rock and a hard place at the ballot box next year, as Fillon’s expected run-off opponent Marine Le Pen, of the Front National is also no ally of LGBT rights.
The FN has a long history of extreme anti-LGBT politics, aligning itself with aggressive anti-gay groups during the fight against equal marriage.
The party is home to a number of openly homophobic politicians who have attacked the “evil homosexual lobby”, with FN deputy Louis Aliot claiming Paris Pride is a “exhibitionist symbol of a militant factionalism”.