Virtually all couples argue over things like forgotten anniversaries and taking out the trash. Insults may even fly over whose spending busted the household budget. But in some relationships, accusations and harassment can become something more troubling - psychological abuse. French lawmakers are now recognizing this and are moving to offer people legal protection from repeated mental and emotional abuse in relationships.
Aside from passing laws in 1996 and 2006 to protect women from violent husbands and partners, France has largely tried to deal with the once hushed-up problem of domestic abuse through education and public awareness campaigns. In the coming weeks, however, conservative legislators are expected to introduce a bill that would outlaw "conjugal abuse of a psychological nature" in both married and unmarried relationships. Backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling party, which increases its chances of passing, the legislation seeks to target the verbal and mental denigration, humiliation and manipulation that typically lead to physical abuse. The hope is that the bill will help prevent the emotional wounds that words often cause before a punch is ever thrown. (See pictures of Sarkozy celebrating Bastille Day.)
"It's an important move forward, because the creation of this offense will let us tackle the most insidious situations - the ones that leave no physical scars but which still injure the victims inside," Prime Minister FranÇois Fillon said in November when he announced the government would pass a ban on psychological abuse before the end of this year.
In France, a Move to Outlaw Psychological Abuse in Marriage - Yahoo! News
If this passes, only gay men could ever marry in France.