The "Civil Solidarity Pact" (PACS) in France an impossible evaluation.

Population and Societies

369, June 2001

  • Is the French PACS more popular than the dutch "registered partnership" ?
  • Homosexual partnerships: variable frequency from one country to the next
  • Heterosexual partnership: an alternative to marriage ?
  • PACS and statistics


In the fall of 1999, the French Parliament passed a law offering the possibility for unmarried couples to acquire a legal status thanks to the “Civil Solidarity Pact” (Pacte Civil de Solidarité), or PACS. The PACS is open to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. From the date the law was enacted — November 15, 1999 — until the end of March 2001, approximately 37,000 PACS were registered (6,211 in 1999, 23,644 in 2000, and 7,238 during the first quarter of 2001).

Northern European countries were the first, about twelve years ago, to make provisions for the legal recognition of unmarried couples; southern European countries gradually followed suit. Nonetheless, the countries which have implemented such laws are a small and heterogeneous group: in Scandinavia, only homosexual couples are concerned by new protection laws, and their rights are very similar to those of heterosexual married couples; in the Netherlands, in France and in other countries where similar bills are now under study, the law targets both homosexual and heterosexual couples and offers them an option which is often quite different from marriage

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