Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Macron's airforce uniform draws Tom Cruise comparisons

Read more

THE DEBATE

Polish democracy under threat: EU warns Warsaw over judicial independence

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Game of Thrones and TV's golden age

Read more

ENCORE!

The best of the summer's exhibitions in Paris

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Game of Thrones returns: Mega fans bask in themed pop-up bar

Read more

FOCUS

Unwanted children: 3,800 babies abandoned in South Africa every year

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Looking for Lenin': The search for fallen Soviet statues in Ukraine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

From footballer to inmate: Will OJ Simpson be released?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Time to taper? ECB governing council meets in Frankfurt

Read more

France

French mayors cannot refuse to marry gay couples

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-19

France's Constitutional Council ruled on Friday that the country's mayors cannot refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings, rejecting a bid by a group of mayors who claimed gay marriage went against their moral or religious beliefs.

France's highest court ruled on Friday that the country's mayors cannot refuse to officiate at same-sex marriages, rejecting a bid by a group of mayors who claimed gay marriage went against their moral or religious beliefs.

The Constitutional Council's ruling followed an appeal by mayors and registrars opposed to France’s controversial bill legalising same-sex marriages, which came into effect in May this year.

They argued that the same-sex marriage bill should have included a “freedom of conscience” clause, giving officiators the right not to carry out same-sex marriages if it conflicts with their personal religious or moral beliefs. The lack of such a clause in the bill goes against the French constitution, they claim.

But the Council, France’s highest legal authority, rejected this argument in its ruling on Friday morning.

“The Council judged that, in view of the functions of a state official in the officiating of a marriage, the legislation does not violate their freedom of conscience,” the Council said in a statement.

‘A political decision’

Jean-Michel Colo, the Mayor of Arcangues in southwest France who hit headlines in June when he became the first official to refuse to marry a gay couple, denounced the Council’s decision.

“The Constitutional Council has been manipulated by politics. It is a political decision,” he told AFP.

Colo said that the group of mayors would now take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Meanwhile, the group Manif Pour Tous, which has been at the forefront of protests against the legalisation of same-sex marriage, said it supports “all the mayors who courageously dare to assert their right to freedom of conscience”.

The organisation says a petition it launched in defence of the right of mayors not to officiate at gay weddings has collected more than 80,000 signatures.

In France, marriages can only be made official by state authorities, though many couples also celebrate religious weddings.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-10-18

  • FRANCE

    Rainbow Eiffel Tower angers gay marriage critics

    Read more

  • FRANCE - GAY RIGHTS

    France’s marriage equality law is less equal for some

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Gay couple sue French mayor over marriage refusal

    Read more

COMMENT(S)