France's Catholic church objects to proposed gay marriage
May 24, 2004
PARIS — The Roman Catholic Church stepped into the growing debate over
gay marriage in France, voicing a strong objection in an article
published Friday to a proposed summer wedding between two men.
Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard|
Photo - AFP
"I must state my disagreement," Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard,
president of the Conference of Bishops of France, wrote in two
"Our society could not put the union of a man and women, which
can lead to the birth of new human beings, on the same plane as two
like beings, which cannot," Ricard wrote.
Marriage, Ricard, said, "assures the renewal of generations ...
which is not the case of a union between persons of the same sex."
Green party lawmaker Noel Mamere has announced plans to perform
France's first gay wedding on June 5, prompting fierce debate, a
government denunciation and riveted media attention.
Mamere says he will perform the ceremony in the small southwest
town of Begles, where he is mayor. In France, mayors perform civil
marriage ceremonies - the only kind that is legally recognized.
Ricard, who is archbishop of Bordeaux, which is near Begles,
published the article in "L'Aquitaine," a bimonthly regional
journal of the Bordeaux diocese and in the national Catholic daily
Ricard said the church objected to gay marriage – and gay
adoption – not merely on religious grounds but as a means "to
support the founding principles of social life itself."
"It must be said," Ricard wrote, that, "a child, born from the
union of a man and a woman, needs a father and a mother."
Justice Minister Dominique Perben has said that gay marriage is
illegal in France and the state will not recognize a homosexual
"This wedding will be purely and simply null and void, because
it's against the law," Dominique Perben was quoted as telling Le
Figaro newspaper last month.
France's civil code governing weddings specifically mentions
"husband and wife" and to say otherwise is "a lie," Perben said,
adding that Mamere risks sanctions if he goes ahead with the
A 1999 French law gave unmarried couples, including homosexual
couples, extensive legal rights if they register their unions with
the state. Called "PACS," it was pushed through by the former
leftist government and created a fierce public debate in France,
with opponents claiming it would undermine traditional family
values. – Sapa-AP
French opposition socialists rally behind gay marriage [12/05/2004]