Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The New York Times recently published a really interesting article on the PACS, here.

Just a brief background for those who aren't familiar with the PACS - it was started back in 1999 as a way to give homosexual couples similar rights to those of marriage. The funny thing is though, it has always been more popular with heterosexual couples - as the article states, one year after the invention of the PACS, 75% of the couples pacsing were straight. And last year, a whopping 95% of them were heterosexual.

They also say that there are now two PACSes for every three marriages, which I think is a pretty surprising statistic. And the number of couples getting pacsed already outnumbers the couples getting married in Paris 11th arrondissement. I was talking with C about it last night, and almost everybody I knew back in Bretagne was pacsed and not married (both foreign & French couples). Though I do have to say that most of the people I know here in Paris are married.

They give several reasons for the rise in PACSing - people who are not yet ready to get married but yet who want some kind of commitment, people who want the tax benefits, people who are against The Man, people who come from divorced families, etc.

I know Fab & I got pacsed because I wasn't ready to get married and be stuck in Bretagne forever, and it was the easiest way for me to stay at the time. I had always thought we'd end up getting married someday though, and I think a lot of my friends who are pacsed probably feel the same way - like it's a sort of stepping-stone to marriage, a way to buy time. C however says he would never get pacsed - he seems to feel, as one blogger so eloquently put it on my old SamdeBretagne blog, that one should "Take a sh*t or get off the pot".

Personally though, I don't think it's as black and white as that, and I am happy that there is at least something that exists for homosexual couples, even if it seems that most of them would still rather be able to get married instead.



Blogger ditdit said...

Way back when I first came to France, the PACs didn't exist. So to have some rights and benefits I officially became a "concubine". I always laughed when I told someone that we weren't married, that we had signed a "concubinage" paper.

December 18, 2010 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger L said...

I thought it was kind of funny that the NY Times decided to talk about it now. It's not exactly 'new' news, but then again Americans wouldn't know about it.
I think the PACS also has a lot of success because there is not yet a big family celebration tradition for it. For a non-religious couple with religious parents or grandparents, or coming from two different religious backgrounds, marriage can be a big fight waiting to happen. Getting the Pacs, on the other hand, is a legal thing not at all related to bouquets and invitations and favors. Young people who don't go to church anymore don't want to be required to have a religious ceremony because of Great Aunt Ginette, so they go the discreet way.

December 18, 2010 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I was a concubine too, ditdit. My mother was always appalled. :)

December 18, 2010 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I got married in June 'cause I always had a need to have the same last name as my kids but in France you can't do that. On their birth certificate they put your maiden name and every time you do anything administrative they don't want to know your married name, just your maiden name so your married name is kind of an afterthought. Now I'm feeling jipped on mariage. - If you can't have your hubby's name as really your own what the heck was the point of marrying in the first place.

December 20, 2010 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger Cécy said...

One of my cousin is Pacsed, they're expecting a little one this spring :)
I think it's a great option, it's not for everyone but at least it's there.

@L: In France marriage is non religious. You get married at the townhall, by the mayor or his assistant.
In fact you can only be married in the Church if you've done it in the townhall first. The legal system doesn't recognize church marriage on its own.
I know many people of different religions who did a townhall wedding (muslim family for him, and catholic for her).
As long as you have two witnesses you can be married by the mayor, it doesn't have to be big, although most people who make that effort like to celebrate it.

December 20, 2010 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Most of Alain's friends are married. I only know one who is pacsed. We decided to get married right away instead of pacsing first.

January 7, 2011 at 9:24 PM  

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