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France

Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

© Photo: Collectif Oui-oui-oui

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-10

In a landmark court ruling, the French government was ordered Wednesday to immediately grant a visa to a gay man from Senegal to allow him to marry his partner in France.

The man, who lives in Morocco, took steps to wed his French partner shortly after France legalised same-sex marriage in May last year, filing an application for a short-term visa with the French consulate in Casablanca on May 26.

But the consulate staff denied the application as the man had previously been ordered to leave France because his immigration papers were not in order. It also had doubts that his relationship with a French national 35 years his senior was genuine.

However, France’s top administrative court, the Council of State, ruled Tuesday that decision amounted to “a serious and manifestly illegal breach of the fundamental right to marry”.

It ordered the Interior Ministry to issue a visa within 24 hours to allow the man to travel to France for a wedding due to be held Saturday in the town of Creil, in the north of the country. The government was also ordered to pay compensation of 5,000 euros.

'Celebration of marriage'

The judge noted that France’s gay marriage law prevents French consulates and embassies from carrying out same-sex weddings in countries where such unions are not permitted, including Morocco. As such, same-sex marriages involving a spouse from one such country can only be carried out in France.

He also said that given that the two men had owned an apartment together in Casablanca for four years, where the applicant had a stable job, there was no reason to suspect that their relationship was fabricated nor that the visa request was for anything other than the “celebration of marriage”.

It follows another court ruling in October last year which gave the go-ahead for a Franco-Moroccan gay couple to get married in France.

The French government had previously ruled that nationals from 11 countries, including Morocco, Poland and Laos, were not allowed to marry people of the same sex in France due to bilateral agreements signed with those states.

Date created : 2014-07-10

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