The French national assembly has voted to amend its education law to replace the terms ‘mother’ and ‘father’ on school forms with ‘Parent 1’ and ‘Parent 2’.
The move, which passed its first reading on Tuesday, paves the way for the change which lawmakers say gives fair recognition to families with same-sex parents and tackles discrimination.
President Emmanuel Macron‘s République en Marche (REM) party backed the amendment to the ‘Schools of Trust’ law in the interest of ‘anchoring the diversity of families with children in the law’, said Valérie Petit MP.
Petit, who tabled the amendment, cited many the fact that most forms – such as those for a student’s absence – mention a father and mother but do not take into account the French marriage equality law that passed in 2013.
Another REM assembly member, Jennifer De Temmerman, agreed that today’s ‘social and family models are a little outdated’.
‘No one should feel excluded from this society by backward thinking,’ she said.
The amendment says: ‘To prevent discrimination, school enrollment, class registers, parental authorisations and all other official forms involving children must mention only Parent 1 and Parent 2.’
Parties on the left and centre welcomed the amendment, which has angered Christians and conservatives.
But it does not enjoy unanimous support in Mr Macron’s party, as education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said that the removal of ‘les mères’ and ‘les pères’ was a legislative overreach by the government.
Alexandre Urwicz, President of the Association of Homo-parental Families, had mixed feelings.
‘At first, we welcomed the amendment because, technically, it allows our families to be included in forms that previously did not allow it, ‘ he told AFP.
However, admitted that he was afraid that the new formula is misleading as it might lead to a parental hierarchy: ‘Who is parent number 1 and who is parent number 2?,’ he asked.
The amendment has its second reading on February 19. It has yet to be approved by the Senate but is expected to pass.
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