chapter
France
Pages 18

France is often hailed as the first European nation to decriminalize homosexuality. With the Penal Code of 1791 and the Code of Municipal Police and Correctional Police, established by the Constituent Assembly of 1791 two years after the French Revolution, sodomy and crimes against nature, the intertwined rubrics under which same-sex sex acts had been punished during the ancien régime, were removed from the law books. Likewise, the Penal Code of 1810, established under Napoléon, contained no mention of sodomy. However, despite this progressive legislative past, France has a history of repression of sodomy and homosexuality that stretches from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. The early consolidation of the French nation occurred in part through the mobilization of sentiments against sodomy, and during World War II the Vichy government collaborated in the deportation of homosexuals to German concentration camps.