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They did it in 1791. We caught up shortly after... in 1997.
Stephanie Marie Anderson

7 Oct 2016 - 2:32 PM  UPDATED 7 Oct 2016 - 2:32 PM

It is a well known fact that France is better than us at a lot of things: They are better than us at wine (sorry, South Australia), they are better than us at cheese, and they are better than us at speaking French.

But another, lesser-known thing that France is definitively better than us at is not treating gay people like criminals.

Today is the anniversary of the legalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults in France. It happened alllllll the way back during the French Revolution, which was in like, 1791. Literally SO LONG AGO.

Comparatively, Tasmania was the final state to decriminalise homosexual acts, and that happened a little after 1791, in 1997. You know, the same year "Tubthumping", "Barbie Girl" and "Bitter Sweet Symphony" were in the top 10.

A definitive timeline of LGBT+ rights in Australia
A bittersweet look at where we've been, how far we've come, and how far we've got to go.

Anyway, the legalisation was introduced as part of the French Penal Code, while the French Revolution was going on, and was sponsored by French politican Louis-Michel le Peletier. The code's vibe was all about taking away power from judges  to just make whatever decisions they wanted - a major shift from the system of the time - and instead, state specifically what the punishment for each particular crime would be. Somewhere in the middle of all that, they were like "gay stuff's fine, too".

So there you have it. Let them eat cake!