Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Netanyahu says Gaza operation will not end quickly

Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • EU broadens sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

France

French mayors cannot refuse to marry gay couples

© AFP

Video by Claire WILLIAMS

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)