In the latest example of political correctness run amok in Europe, the French National Assembly this week passed an education reform bill which included a controversial amendment to replace all instances of the words 'mother' and 'father' on official school-related paperwork with the 'gender neutral' phrases "Parent 1" and "Parent 2".
The bill, which was championed by President Emmanuel Macron's party, will also make school attendance mandatory for all three-year-olds.
"This amendment aims to root in law children's family diversity in administrative forms submitted in school," said REM minister Valérie Petit.
"We have families who find themselves faced with tick boxes stuck in rather old-fashioned social and family models. For us, this article is a measurement of social equality."
While the changes were made ostensibly to stop discrimination against same-sex parents, according to the Christian Post, the measure has been attacked by conservatives and liberals alike. Even the French education minister opposed the amendment.
In a sign of just how fraught with controversy this provision has become, even the president of the French association for same-sex parents has criticized the decision, arguing that it could create a "parental hierarchy".
However, it is not just conservatives who question the effectiveness of the new legislation. Alexandre Urwicz president of the AFDH, the French association for same sex parents, worries that the legislation could create a “parental hierarchy."
"Who is ‘parent number 1’ and who is ‘parent number 2’?" he asks, adding that perhaps the less controversial "father, mother and legal representative," be used instead.
Conservatives denounced the suggestion that the terms "mother" and "father" are old fashioned, and one lawmaker pointed out that in modern France, more than 95% of civil unions are between same-sex couples, RT reported.
“When I hear people say this is an old-fashioned model, I would remind people that today among unions celebrated, civil or marital, some 95 per cent are man-woman couples,” Conservative MP Xavier Breton said of the latest amendment, while fellow Conservative Fabien Di Filippo denounced the move as a “frightening ideology."
Other conservatives insisted that they would work to repeal the bill if and when their party returns to power.
Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the opposition Republicans party, said 'mother' and 'father' would be reinstated if his party wins the elections.
"Our citizens do not share anything with the political class nor the policies they are imposing," he said, according to The Times.
Ludovine de la Rochère, leader of the Catholic Demonstration for All, which protested against the introduction of same-sex marriage, called the new terms "absolutely dehumanising."
"Children need guidance," she said. "This amendment goes towards the disappearance of fundamental references."
Even if the amendment is rejected by the French Senate, it would return to the National Assembly for further consideration. However, the measure is expected to pass the upper chamber.
But for right now, at least, the controversy has at least proved fodder for some classic memes.