Foreign civil partners living in France will have their relationships officially recognised for the first time, thanks to a measure passed by the French National Assembly yesterday (29 April).
The move means that British ex-pats who have had civil partnerships in Britain will now have their union recognised in France as PACS, which is a form of civil union in France. While similar to a British civil partnership, PACS can be entered into by both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy now has 15 days to “promulgate” the measure into law, after the National Assembly endorsed the Senate’s position, which passed it last month.
Currently, same-sex couples who live in France but have legal partnerships or marriages registered in other countries are not legally recognised as a couple.
This means that an ex-pat who has entered into a civil partnership in Britain is subject to a higher rate of inheritance tax if their partner died, than somebody with PACS – especially if property was owned.
The measure has been welcomed by both the European Union and the European Parliament, who had been putting pressure on the French Government to recognise the legal status of same-sex couples that had registered their partnerships in another country.
“We have been calling for this for some time,” said the president of the European Parliament’s all-party Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights.
“I am looking forward to similar moves in other countries and eventually hope that same sex partnerships will be recognised throughout all 27 Member States of the EU.”
The non-recognition of foreign same-sex couples in France has been particularly frustrating, as PACS are recognised by EU countries that have same-sex partnerships laws.