Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Subsidizing Polygamy

In this season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, an article in France-Echos exposes the French State's subsidies to fathers whose children are born in a polygamous marriage. But more than that, the official webpage with the information is no longer accessible. The article begins with a fragment from an old Charles Aznavour song, La Bohème:

It was a time that those under 20 cannot remember, long ago, very long ago when polygamy was illegal in France, so it seems.

Happily, those days are gone.

Today in France, polygamy is not only perfectly legal, it is even encouraged thanks to many different and varied measures that insure the proper functioning of an ideal multicultural society that offers prosperity, wealth, security, liberty, active equality (I presume this is preferable to passive equality?), affirmative action, fraternity, health, happiness and good humor.

One of these logical and humane measures that does honor to the hospitality of the pluri-ethnic, tolerant, peaceful, and laic citizens' French Republic is that "paternity leave is granted to the polygamous father on the occasion of the birth of each child recognized as his..." (Note: this line is highlighted in green above.)

France-Echos then points out the disappearance of the webpage pictured above but links to a cached version of the page. Another link to a website called cbezanson has similar information - scroll down to #3:

Paternity leave is accorded to the father whatever the family situation: marriage, single fatherhood ("vie maritale"), civil union, divorce, separation, polygamy...

France-Echos closes on a note of triumph:

Those in charge of health insurance can always have fun trying to cover up information, but it's too late: it was duplicated, automatically, everywhere and not only at Google...

Taking a closer look at the document pictured above, we learn that paternity leave is granted if the new-born dies after birth or during the paternity leave, provided there is a birth certificate, but not if the baby is still-born.

Paternity leave is granted wherever the child is born, in France or in a foreign country provided the father recognizes the child as his.

Paternity leave is subordinate to the recognition by the father of the child, not to the marital status of the father or the family situation.

Besides the issue of polygamy, the French laws seem much more liberal than ours. I found this at Dr. Greene:

In short the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) stipulates that companies which have over 50 employees must offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child; acquiring a foster child; the serious illness of a child, spouse, or parent; and the serious illness of the employee. If the employee is in the top 10% of salaried employees, the leave may be denied on the basis that it would cause undue hardship on the company. The leave can be taken anytime in the first twelve months following the event and may be taken intermittently. This law is enforceable through civil actions. Initial complaints should first be filed with the Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration. Inquiries should be directed to local offices of the Wage and Hour Division. The Family and Medical Leave Act does not make any provision for paid leave of absence, nor does it make any provision for workers in small companies.

On the topic of polygamy in the United States, this webpage has good information:

In 1862, the United States Congress passed the Morril Act, which prohibited polygamy in the territories, disincorporated the Mormon church, and restricted the church's ownership of property. In Reynolds v. United States, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Morril Act, stating that polygamy has always been "odious" among the Northern and Western nations of Europe, and from "the earliest history of England polygamy has been treated as an offense against society."

The Supreme Court has ruled that a juror who has a conscientious belief that polygamy is right may be challenged for cause in a trial for polygamy. Anyone who practices polygamy is ineligible to immigrate to the United States.

Are we to understand that polygamy is officially legal in France by virtue of Sécurité Sociale subsidies?

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