Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

FIFA Corruption Scandal: Top officials indicted on US corruption charges (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

FIFA Corruption Scandal: Top officials indicted on US corruption charges (part 1)

Read more

ENCORE!

Film Show: 'The Measure of a Man', 'My Golden Days' and vintage Spielberg

Read more

FOCUS

Thailand cracks down on human traffickers amid worsening migrant crisis

Read more

FACE-OFF

Radical left surges in Spain: A domino effect in France?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Could Johnny Depp be jailed over dog row in Oz?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Nabi Saleh, the West Bank town holding protests since 2009

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Burundi's Nkurunziza appeals for 'national solidarity' to fund elections

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Oil companies agree to end crippling strike in Nigeria

Read more

France

Gay couple sue French mayor over marriage refusal

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-06-26

A gay couple are suing a mayor in the southwest of France for discrimination after he refused to marry them. The 60-year-old mayor, who faces up to five years in prison, said he would rather serve a jail sentence than marry two men.

A gay couple in southwestern France Wednesday pressed charges against a mayor who has refused to wed them in defiance of a landmark law allowing same-sex unions.

Jean-Michel Colo, the mayor of Arcangues, stirred up controversy by becoming the first French official to formally refuse to officiate at the wedding of a gay couple, Jean-Michel Martin and Guy Martineau-Espel, and has made several combative statements.

Isabelle Duguet, the couple's lawyer, said she had filed a case against Colo for discrimination and refusal to carry out his official duties. The 60-year-old has been mayor of Arcangues for three decades.

Duguet said he could face a five-year jail term and a 75,000-euro ($98,000) fine.

"For me, marriage is for a woman and man to have children. I am not discriminating as a same-sex couple is sterile. It's a parody of equality, it's a big lie," Colo had said earlier, defending his stand.

"I will go to the gallows" rather than back down, Colo said.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls has warned Colo of "significant sanctions", telling reporters that any public servants refusing to respect the letter of the law would be guilty of discrimination and thus risk up to three years in prison, as well as paying 45,000 euros in damages.

Martineu-Espel had told AFP that the couple had even tried to tell the mayor that the nuptials would not be played out in the media but he had failed to persuade Colo to marry them.

In April, France became the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage after President Francois Hollande, who had made the issue a major electoral plank, signed the measure into law following months of bitter political debate.

The first gay marriage in France was held on May 29.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-06-26

  • FRANCE

    France's first gay marriage takes place in Montpellier

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Passions flare ahead of France’s first gay marriage

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France’s anti-gay marriage movement eyes next battle

    Read more

COMMENT(S)