Instituted in 1999, the Pacs or Civil solidarity pact was addressed both to same-sex couples, for whom it incarnates legal recognition, and to different-sex couples seeking to legally frame their union through an alternative to marriage. Seven years after the Pacs was implemented, an analysis of the legislative text identifies its ambivalences; then the meaning of the text is grasped more fully by sociologically studying how the Pacs is used by contracting parties. Social uses of the pact are far from homogeneous. Analysis of the motivations associated with choosing the Pacs, and of the practices of individuals around this choice, bring to light the polysemy of the new arrangement. Used as an alternative to or substitute for marriage (the latter by same-sex couples who cannot get married), as a means of trying out married life, as a intensified “living together” arrangement and even as a kind of anti-marriage, the Civil solidarity pact appears a plurivocal arrangement whose meaning lies as much in the diversity of the uses it lends itself to as in the legislative text itself.
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