Friday, December 17, 2010


The French Have Solved the Marriage Problem

Yes, they have solved it with the increasingly popular civil union, which is essentially Marriage Lite and can be dissolved "with just a registered letter." ("Don't make me send this registered letter.") They even have a cute, or, actually, sort of violent yet charming name for it: "getting PACSed." (Or, "getting PActe Civil de Solidarité'd.")

When it was created in 1999, the PACS was originally intended for gay couples to obtain (some of) the legal benefits of marriage (gay marriage being illegal in France), but now 95% of PACSes are between straight people, who're just PACSing each other all over the place. “We’re the generation of divorced parents," said one recently PACSed young woman. "The notion of eternal marriage has grown obsolete."

What the article doesn't explain is 1) are there PACS rings? And 2) are there PACS parties? It's hinted at — "department stores now offer PACS gift registries and travel agencies offer PACS honeymoon packages" — but remains unclear. I would want a token of some sort to display that I'd been PACSed and wasn't some sort of disgusting loser who no one was willing to PACS.

7 Comments / Post A Comment


Toute personne se PACSerait avec Edith, elle est intelligent, talentueux, accompli, et étonnant! Quel saccage du jardin de la beauté!

(Sorry, don't know French.)

Bonnie Downing

This is totallt the way to go. Everyone should have the same civil union and/or marriage rights, legally. Then depending on what straw-doll in clothing you worship, you could also have a religious ceremony that is only available to people in your precious group.


LOL YES! You used my special Hairpin icon.


Ségolène Royal, who ran for the French presidency during the last election, was pacsé. (She may since have separated from her partner.)


Stop bringing her up. She is a terrible person. It'd be like if we French people made a habit of talking about Camille Paglia. Camille Paglia who'd run for office.


Been following Hairpin since it was mentioned on MetaFilter, now you've made me register! Background: I'm American, have lived in France for 11 years.
1) They do wear rings once PACSed, but they're not called PACS rings. They just wear them on the same finger as you'd wear a wedding ring. No one makes a deal out of knowing whether a ring on that finger is PACS or marriage, 'cause PACS is practically marriage-equivalent for the generation of people getting them (30s-40s). Also, the French aren't as big on wedding rings anyway; I mean, they wear them, they're just not as "OMG RING" as in the US. Some of the most loving married couples I know have simple gold or silver bands with no stones, no engraving.
2) Yes, but nothing like wedding receptions. That's one of the reasons people prefer the PACS, though — they can have whatever kind of party they feel like according to their budget.
The article only talks about it at the end, but it is also seen as a sort of official way of fiancéing yourself to someone. Of all my PACSed friends, there are only two or three who don't plan to get married a few years down the line, "as long as the PACS works out".

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account