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French non marriage
French non marriage
Seems the Frence are busy having kids, but not getting married! America has the same urges. Soon only the gays will be getting married and the rest will enjoy their out of wedlock status. Perhaps I should not have tied the knot, as it seems to hurt my circulation here!
Amour Rules in France but Weddings Don't
By ZOE MEZIN (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
January 27, 2006 4:33 PM EST
PARIS - France may still be the land of love. But the country's traditional tableau of marriage and the baby carriage has changed dramatically in three decades, according to a parliamentary report released Friday.
Nearly half of children are now born out of wedlock, and the marriage rate is down 27 percent compared to 1970 - prompting calls for reform of France's widely used civil unions.
And yet, there's a baby boom. With 1.94 children born to the average woman, France has the highest birth rate in the European Union after Ireland's 1.99, according to 2005 demographic figures released last week. The European average is 1.5 babies per woman.
The glossy French magazine Paris Match devoted its cover this week to the high birth rate, with a photo of French actress Judith Godreche ("The Spanish Apartment") holding her diaper-clad baby under the headline "France, champion of births."
The parliamentary study, drafted by a bipartisan parliamentary committee, was commissioned over a year ago. Legislators were expected to use the report as a basis to modify existing legislation on marriage and the rights of children.
Among other findings: The average age at marriage has increased by nearly six years for both men and women since 1970, to 28.8 for women and 30.9 for men. And today, 42 percent of marriages end in divorce - compared with 12 percent three decades ago, the report said.
Sometimes, romantic partners decide not to marry because they have already experienced complicated divorces or breakups, the report said. And the stigma of living together outside wedlock is simply disappearing, it said.
Virginie Mathon, a 31-year-old mother of a 3-year-old in the eastern city of Grenoble, has decided not to marry her partner. Mathon's grandmother was disappointed. But her parents, who came of age in the 1960s, were supportive.
"It's a way to stay free," Mathon said. "I don't want to be 'someone's wife.' I don't want to change my name."
The evolution of French families contradicts certain stereotypes handed down over the years, said Claude Martin, a sociologist with France's National Center for Scientific Research. The first is that countries with many practicing Roman Catholics - such as Italy, Spain or Poland - have higher birth rates than more secular countries such as France. The second is that working prevents women from having children.
"Countries where women have access to professional life are also those where the birth rate is higher," Martin told Le Monde newspaper.
The parliamentary report also studied the outcome of a 1999 French law that gave unmarried couples, including homosexual couples, extensive legal rights if they register their unions with the state. The legislation, known as PACS, was pushed through by the former leftist government and created a fierce public debate at the time, with opponents claiming it would undermine traditional family values.
Some 170,000 such unions have been signed in France, the report said. It urged the government to strengthen such alternative unions by reforming the law to make it more like marriage. Proposed revisions include property rights, laws of succession and taxation.
"The committee is favorable to a reform of the PACS that resolves difficulties encountered since its creation, all the while respecting the specificity of marriage," the report said.
The report did not recommend legalizing marriage for gay couples.
The report was rejected by left-wing members of the committee, who are pressing for broader measures.
"We are for gay marriage, and it needs to be the same" as for heterosexual couples, Socialist politician Adeline Hazan said.
A poll by Figaro Magazine in August showed a majority of French people support the idea of gay marriage, though conservative President Jacques Chirac has spoken against it.