French prosecutor seeks to have gay wedding declared null
June 14, 2004
BORDEAUX — The state prosecutor in the French city of Bordeaux on Friday
asked a court to nullify France's first gay wedding last week that
a mayor carried out in defiance of warnings from authorities.
Officials said the chief judge of the Bordeaux court would soon
fix a date to hear the matter, and that he would order the
shopkeeper and male nurse who married to appear.
Bertrand Charpentier, 31, and Stephane Chapin, 34, were wedded
in a ceremony in the Bordeaux suburb of Begles on June 5 by the
local mayor, Noel Mamere, who is also a leading figure in the
opposition Green party.
They have vowed to take their case before the European Court of
Human Rights if the marriage is declared invalid, as the
conservative government has threatened.
Their union generated intense attention in France, where a civil
contract known as PACS has since 1999 permitted couples –
including same-sex ones – to attain some of the legal rights of
marriage, but not others, notably those dealing with taxes and
President Jacques Chirac and his government have argued that
French law stipulates a wedding can only be between a man and a
woman, and have threatened to temporarily suspend Mamere as mayor.
But gay rights supporters argue the text is not that clear and,
in any case, the country should adapt to new social realities.
Although homosexual partnerships are recognised to varying
degrees in several European countries, Belgium and the Netherlands
are the only two states that recognise same-sex marriages. – Sapa-AFP
First step to annul French marriage taken [08/06/2004]