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Schools in France may replace ‘mother & father’ with ‘parent 1 & 2’ under controversial same sex amendment.
French schools are to replace the words “mother” and “father” with “parent 1” and “parent 2” under an amendment to a law passed this week.
Supporters of the change say it will stop discrimination against same sex parents but critics argue it “dehumanises” parenthood, is “ugly” and could lead to rows over who gets to be “parent 1”.
The amendment was passed by MPs on Tuesday night as part of a wider so-called law to build “a school of trust”, which among other things also makes attendance compulsory for all three-year-olds.
“This amendment aims to root in law children’s family diversity in administrative forms submitted in school,” said Valérie Petit, MP for the majority REM party of President Emmanuel Macron. Ms Petit, from the Nord department, said that the words mother and father, on all school documents such as pertaining to the canteen or authorising children to go on excursions, no longer took into account the recently-passed gay marriage law, nor the existence of same sex parents.
She added: “We have families who find themselves faced with tick boxes stuck in rather old-fashioned social and family models. For us, this article is a measurement of social equality.”
Socialist MP Joaquim Pueyot also praised the reform as “a question of respect and dignity”. “You cannot imagine the consequences when children don’t feel treated like the others,” he said.
FCPE, France’s biggest parent’s federation, called “a very good thing”. “It echos the (recent) law on fighting harassment because often situations of child harassment target kids who don’t fit the current criteria.”
But the move angered the mainstream conservative Republicans, or LR, party and the far-Right.
Conservative MP Xavier Breton said: “When I hear people say this is an old-fashioned model, I would remind people that today among unions celebrated, civil or marital, some 95 per cent are man-woman couples.”
Conservative MP Fabien Di Filippo denounced a “frightening ideology, which in the name of limitless egalitarianism promotes removing points of reference, including those regarding the family”.
The idea of replacing mother and father by parent 1 and 2 was already mooted during the debate leading to the 2013 law legalising same sex marriage but was not inscribed into legislation at the time. Indeed, Jean-Michel Blanquer, the current education minister, had opposed the amendment on the grounds that this need not be a legislative matter.
Eric Ciotti, another Right-wing MP, said: “They swore this was fantasy, that it would never happen. The negation of gender deconstructs the balance of our society.”
Traditionalists were appalled.
Ludovine de la Rochère, president of the Manif Pour Tous organisation that opposes gay marriage, called it “totally dehumanising”. “Children need bearings,” she said.
Meanwhile Marine Le Pen, head of the far-Right National Rally, said “the mask has fallen” from the Macron camp regarding its view of society. Jordan Bardella, head of RN’s European election list, said the move was part of an attempt to “ideologically condition children”, even claiming that “totalitarianism is not far off”.
The Right wasn’t the only camp to express scepticism.
AFDH, the French association for same sex parents, said that while it welcomed providing a way for such parents to be “included in forms”, it warned it could create a “parental hierarchy”.
“Who is ‘parent number 1’ and who is ‘parent number 2’?,” asked AFDH president Alexandre Urwicz, who called for more “inclusive” forms including the boxes “father, mother and legal representative”.
Jean-Michel Aphatie, editorialist on Europe 1 radio, said that while the change was logical to keep step with “administrative reality”, turning parents into numbers was “very administrative and very ugly”.
The amendment could yet be rejected by the majority-Right Senate but will then return to the National Assembly for a final reading.
Source : https://bit.ly/2tpZmB3