If something’s worth celebrating, why stop at just one party? That is the thinking of our friends Michael and David. We joined the couple to celebrate their civil solidarity pact – or pacte civil de solidarité – in Paris last weekend.
However, they are already talking about getting married in a few years’ time. Or ‘upgrading’, as it’s known in gay circles.
So far, so familiar.
In the UK, we have civil partnerships and full-blown marriage too. As in France, what makes the two different is the involvement of the church.
There are some other important differences too. British civil partnerships are for same-sex unions only. In France, they are for gay and straight couples. In fact, far more heterosexual couples opt for a pacte civil de solidarité (PACS) than gay couples.
Gay unions account for just 5% of PACS, statistics show.
The other thing that separates British civil partnerships from French PACS is that the latter can be temporary. Michael and David’s is set out like a contract, they tell me – and is valid for just five years.
“Damon and I celebrated 21 years together in January and we may mark our 25th anniversary by getting married”
Their celebration last weekend didn’t feel like a short-term thing, though. They had hired the Pavillon du Lac at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, in Paris’ north-eastern 19th arrondissement. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from their house. We’ve been there before with les garçons, as we call them.
They say they are now considering having a wedding in a few years’ time.
So are we. Damon and I celebrated 21 years together in January and we are toying with the idea of marking our 25th anniversary by getting married.
We had a do for 50 people when we had our civil partnership. Like Michael and David, we can easily find a reason for a second party.
It’ll be different to the first one, of course – not least because we expect to be living in France by then. That’s got to be worth celebrating.