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Diane Robertson

In drafting a law that would legalize gay-marriage in France, French law-makers are taking gender neutrality one step further. They plan to remove the terms, “Mother” and “Father” from all government documents.

The law that will be presented to France’s President Francois Hollande’s cabinet for approval on October 31, states, “marriage is a union of two people, of different or the same gender”. The law also states that all references to “mothers and fathers” in the nation’s civil code will be swapped for the non-gender-specific “parents.” In addition, the law would give equal adoption rights to same-sex couples.

A law this extensive is bound to have a profound effect on other laws. From a legal perspective, using gender-neutral terms will oversimplify complicated situations that arise from conflicts between a biological parent and a non-biological partner. Will this law allow a same-gender relationship to deny a child visitation rights with his or her biological mother or father?  This law undoubtedly puts the interests of adults above the interests of a child.

In a world where more and more of the population feels entitled to certain benefits from the government– healthcare, housing, jobs, food, education– governments are forgetting the most important entitlement. Children are entitled to a relationship with both their mother and their father. At the same time that laws are being made to provide food, healthcare , jobs and housing, other laws are being made that remove a child’s most important need—both a mother and father.

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