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LES ECHOS

After Sarkozy's Defeat, Will France Be Next To Legalize Gay Marriage?

During the just concluded campaign, France’s incoming Socialist President François Hollande had vowed to push through gay marriage during his first year in office. Conservative Catholic groups are already gearing up for a fight.

2011 Gay Pride in Toulouse, France (Guillaume Paumier)
2011 Gay Pride in Toulouse, France (Guillaume Paumier)

PARIS – Following Barack Obama's surprise public support for gay marriage, incoming French President François Hollande may be poised to push through legislation to give same-sex couples in France the right for the first time to marry.

During his presidential campaign, Socialist candidate Hollande declared his support both for same-sex marriage and adoption right for LGBT couples. He vowed to pursue the issue in early 2013 if he won.

After he is sworn into office Tuesday, Hollande will be watched closely both by gay rights activists as well as a core of traditionalist Catholic groups virulently opposed to same-sex marriage.

On Sunday, some 1,500 traditionalist Catholics close to the far-right leaning Institut Civitas religious group, gathered in central Paris, declaring same-sex marriage "deeply anti-Christian, anti-family and anti-national." Marginal as these groups may be, they still echo a point of view shared by many believers.

Young Catholic priests from Versailles, west of Paris, declared on the influential website Padreblog : "We hope that, now that he's become the president of all the French, François Hollande will be able to see the bigger picture, and realize that his campaign promises should remain campaign promises."

Since 2001, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden have allowed same-sex couples to marry. Same-sex marriage has been a longstanding point of conflict in France, though the moment may be ripe. In June 2011, a poll found that 63% of the population favored same-sex marriage rights.

Offering additional momentum was the news last week of the surprise public support for gay marriage rights by U.S. President Barack Obama, though in the United States such decisions are decided on the state level.

Read more from Le Monde in French. Full article by Stéphanie Le Bars

Photo – Guillaume Paumier

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Overselling The Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal Is One More Putin Scam

Moscow and Kyiv reached a much hailed accord in July to allow transport of Ukrainian agricultural output from ports along the Black Sea. However, analysis from Germany's Die Welt and Ukraine's Livy Bereg shows that it has done little so far to solve the food crisis, and is instead being used by Putin to advance his own ambitions.

Vladimir Putin inspecting the wheat harvesting at the village of Vyselki, Krasnodar Territory in 2009.

Oleksandr Decyk, Christian Putsch

-Analysis-

Brokered by Turkey on July 22, the Grain Deal between Russia and Ukraine ensured the export of Ukrainian agricultural products from the country's largest sea ports. Exports by sea of grains and oilseeds have been increasing. Optimistic reports, featuring photos of the first deliveries to Africa, are circulating about how the risk of a global food crisis has been averted.

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But a closer look shows a different story. The Black Sea ports are not fully opened, which will impact not only Ukraine. The rest of the world can expect knock-on effects, including potentially hunger for millions. Indeed, a large proportion of the deliveries are not going to Africa at all.

As with other reported "breakthroughs" in the war, Vladimir Putin has other objectives in mind — and is still holding on to all his cards.

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