June 2021 Volume 16, Number 1

The Reluctant Acceptance of Same-Sex Unions and Parents in Israel

Zvi Triger (download)

Israeli marriage law is religious in nature, and makes no provision for civil marriages. It is thus remarkable that same-sex unions have been recognized, albeit to a limited extent, by Israeli courts, and that same-sex marriages performed abroad have been registered and recognized by Israeli authorities. This article explores the growing acceptance of both same-sex partners and parents in a country where personal law is based on religion. I argue that there are two main reasons for this acquiescence: (1) Israeli-Jewish culture places great emphasis on the family and on procreation, and has been characterized in the literature as pronatalist. Therefore, LGBTQ people who choose to live in long-term, monogamous relationships and have children are accepted, as they can be seen as living within Jewish culture and its familial orientation; (2) The so-called demographic problem, which is used to encourage Israeli Jews to have more children in order to continue to outnumber Israeli Palestinians, allows Jewish LGBTQ individuals to join this national effort, thus gaining legitimacy for their families. As the article shows, none of the rights that same-sex partners and parents have under Israeli law were voluntarily awarded by the legislature. All of these entitlements were recognized by Israeli courts only after lengthy and costly litigation, oftentimes against fierce resistance on the part of Israel’s Attorney General. Hence, while Jewish Israeli same-sex partners enjoy a relatively high degree of sociolegal recognition, it should nevertheless be considered a “reluctant acceptance.”


Debates on Same-Sex Parentage: Main Arguments in France

Anne-Marie Leroyer (download)

The debates on same-sex marriage have been heated in France. It is particularly interesting to note that arguments mobilizes were not legal. The question of marriage and adoption was not posed empirically, but ideologically. Many arguments from anthropology, religion and political philosophy were used to argue against the reform. The question that can be asked is why these arguments have had so such space in France?

Medically Assisted Procreation for Women Couples in French Law: Review of New Legislation

Maïté Saulier (download)

French law regulates medically assisted procreation (AMP) within the framework of a more general law, known as the “bioethics law”. The first bioethics laws date from 1994. This law has the particularity of being revisable. In July 2019, a bill was tabled to carry out the third revision. The health crisis, a busy legislative schedule but also political opposition led to a considerable delay in the adoption of this reform, which was finally adopted definitively on 29 June 2021.

The first draft opened the benefit of medically assisted procreation to couples and single women. This proposal was adopted by both parliamentary chambers (National Assembly and Senate) during the preparatory work. But in February 2021, against all expectations, the Senate had finally refused this opening, in a climate of total confusion. It was to be expected that in its final readingthe National Assembly would reverse its position by allowing unmarried women and couples to have recourse to medically assisted reproduction.

A “moment in history”, a “text which, above all else, places the will of men above the weight of destiny”, these are the terms used by the bearers of this project on 29 June 2021. This is obviously an incredible step forward. However, the modalities chosen to allow the establishment of filiation with regard to the female couple in the event of recourse to a sperm donor reveal valuable lessons. These modalities shows that the legislator is incapable of going beyond a traditional model of filiation, based on carnal procreation, to grasp the specifics of AMP. This article proposes, after a historical overview, to analyse the choices that the legislature is preparing to make in 2021 and the paradoxes that lie behind them.


Governing Through Corruption: The Symbolism of the Death Penalty for Chinese Corrupt Officials

Pu-Ma Shen (download)

In a 2011 debate, the Chinese government decided to maintain the death penalty for corruption while eliminating it for other more serious crimes. While the motivation behind use of the death penalty in regard to corruption has not been fully explored, it is crucial to explore the messages of the Chinese government. Although executions are expressed in legal terms following the rule of law, the death penalty itself is understood by the public through the state-controlled media, and it is noteworthy how the Chinese state media interprets legal terms in plain language to construct the meaning of the death penalty. In other words, how does fear of crime exist if China is “governing through corruption”? A content analysis of 328 corruption media reports shows that the revival of traditional values under State Confucianism reveals the rationale for condemning corrupt officials to death. Parallels between media reports and legal elements suggest that the immorality of these officials, as portrayed by the media, forms the foundation of legal arguments for the death penalty, therefore representing a step from immorality to illegality. This paper suggests that the cultural image of the new capitalist class reflects the ways in which old communist values provided a basis for denouncing white-collar criminals when capitalism entered China in 1978; further, it suggests that the government establishes a culture of control by utilizing symbolic rhetoric in an attempt to tackle corruption by governing through corruption.