Long live the bride and groom!dossier
Figure of the fight for the contractualization of unions between homosexual people, this autodidact had distinguished himself by his political sense and a character of “boredom as it should be” for this cause.
The gay community knows what it owes him and pays him a strong tribute this weekend. Jan-Paul Pouliquen, historic activist for the homosexual cause and equal rights for LGBT people, died on Friday April 28. He was 69 years old and was the inventor of Pacs, the ancestor of marriage for all.
Jan-Paul Pouliquen was at the origin of the Committee for the civil union contract before chairing the Collectif Pacs et cætera. “His fight will remain as unprecedented proof that it is not always essential to have millions of francs or thousands of members to carry out effective lobbying” wrote Blandine Grosjean in Release in 1998.
“At the beginning of the 90s, Jan-Paul Pouliquen was a marginal in search of a providential mission. Son of an SNCF secretary, this self-taught commuter has a rebellious temperament“, related for his part Frédéric Martel in pink and blacka book devoted to the emblematic figures of the LGBT movement in France since 1968.
“We owe him so much”
Pouliquen “had the intelligence of freedom to the point of inventing what would become the PACS, and the incredible nerve to move heaven and earth to make it happen”greets on Twitter Denis Quinqueton, one of the artisans of Pacs alongside Pouliquen, Jean-Pierre Michel or Gérard Bach-Espinasse.
«Over the course of our militant years, he passed on to me the requirement of citizenship,” adds the one who today co-directs the LGBT + Observatory of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, after having been president of HES (LGBT + socialists), a current founded by Pouliquen.
“We owe him so much”wrote on Twitter the socialist Patrick Bloche, deputy mayor of Paris who was rapporteur for the law establishing the Pacs in 1999, during the years of “plural left” led by Lionel Jospin. “Jan-Paul was a pain in the ass to make our plans come true”notes Gwen Fauchois, former vice-president of the Act-Up movement.
Sadness and emotion on learning of the disappearance of Jan-Paul Pouliquen who was at the origin of the #Pacs. In 1992, he created the “Collective for the Civil Union Contract” when a first bill was tabled. He also chaired @HES_France. We owe him so much. pic.twitter.com/IVUKkMuZ6p
—Patrick BLOCHE (@pbloche) April 28, 2023
The idea of a contract between homosexual people did not interest anyone in the late 1980s, at a time when visibility had certainly progressed but when the community was devastated by AIDS. Twenty years later, Pouliquen told In l’Express what had triggered the click in him. While an activist in the Citizens’ Movement, founded by Jean-Pierre Chevènement, he came across the story of a couple of men, Philippe and Michel, in the gay press: “When the first fell ill, his companion took care of him, not his family. When he died, Michel was not even able to retrieve a toothbrush from the apartment they lived together: Philippe’s parents had put seals on it. This time, I got angry. The same day, I went to see Jean-Yves Autexier, socialist deputy for the 11th arrondissement of Paris, and around a restaurant table we decided to set up a group of ‘experts, made up of gays and lesbians.’
A bill signed Mélenchon
The first bill was tabled in the Senate in 1990 by the socialist Jean-Luc Mélenchon. “What I am most proud of is having been the one, with a handful of hard-headed people who accepted to sign at the time, who tabled the first piece of legislation in this country making PACS possible”, he congratulated himself in 2012.
Pouliquen’s group of experts worked on its side and put down on paper the first draft civil union contract (CUC), the ancestor of the PACS, in 1991. A bill was tabled the following year by a whole small handful of socialist deputies, led by the chevènementists. Then come the Jospin years and social and societal progress. A new text was tabled in 1998: the PACS was born in November 1999.
During all these years, Pouliquen has made “proof of a political sense that will be totally lacking in gay associations. Wanting everything right now [le mariage, l’adoption, l’égalité totale des droits avec les couples mariés], these become infrequent in the eyes of socialist leaders, said Blandine Grosjean in Freed when he left the presidency of the collective for Pacs.
The job was more than done for all to see. He regretted the abandonment on the way of his central idea, to create a non-sexualized legal protection for all duos. Even a priest and his maid, joked Pouliquen. “I’m fed up with queer hikers! I don’t want to be reduced to my only sexual activity”, he pleaded. Elisabeth Guigou, Keeper of the Seals of the Jospin government, had promised to return later to the brothers and sisters. Promise not kept. Probably too revolutionary.