If French society is progressing as we’re told it is, legalizing gay marriage “ought to be a mere formality,” said Yves Thréard. But Socialist President François Hollande has managed to make a serious mess of it. On the campaign trail, he posed as the measure’s “most ardent defender,” which didn’t seem particularly courageous, since polls showed that most French people favor it. But now that a law is actually being drafted, we’re seeing the president’s will buckle. Last month, after tens of thousands turned out to protest against gay marriage, Hollande backed down, saying that any mayors who objected to presiding over same-sex marriages could delegate deputies to stand in for them. This has enraged critics in his own party—you can’t just let officials ignore laws they don’t like, they say—so now Hollande has distanced himself from what he told the mayors. This is hardly the first time Hollande has “made a public spectacle of his lack of conviction.” Look at how he raised the rates of value-added tax after having sworn he wouldn’t. No wonder his approval rating has halved since he took office. There are plenty of reasons to doubt whether it’s wise to legalize gay marriage, but before we can deal with that, we need a leader who knows where he stands.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- Everything you need to know about the voter ID controversy
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why the government should pay every American child an allowance
- 10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2014
Subscribe to the Week