Court nullifies France's first gay marriage
July 28, 2004
BORDEAUX — The first gay couple to be married in France vowed to fight a
court decision that annulled their union and ruled that any
redefinition of marriage should be taken up by lawmakers.
Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier, with Noel Mamere|
Photo - AFP
Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier, who exchanged vows on
June 5, said Tuesday they would appeal the ruling to the European
Court of Human Rights if necessary and were confident of eventual
"We will win in the European Court, thus in France," Charpentier
said. "We are sure that we will win because we'll take this as far
Their lawyer called the ruling "reactionary."
"The marriage is valid until at least the court of appeal
rules," said attorney Emmanuel Pierrat.
But the court in southwestern Bordeaux said any redefinition of
marriage "must be debated and requires the intervention of the
Chapin and Charpentier last month exchanged vows in a highly
publicized ceremony in the Bordeaux suburb of Begles. The
government immediately said the marriage was not legal.
The mayor who presided over the ceremony, Noel Mamere of the
left-wing Greens Party, was stripped of his official duties for a
In its ruling, the court said that gay couples are already
covered under the so-called PACs legislation that grants
non-married cohabiting couples of the same or opposing sexes some
of the rights enjoyed by married couples.
Currently, homosexual marriage is legal in at least five
countries – the state of Massachusetts in the United States, the
Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Canada's three most populous
French leaders on both sides of the political aisle – ruling
conservatives and opposition Socialists – have spoken out against
legalizing same-sex marriages. However, the tide may be turning
against the French ruling class.
Polls here suggest that a majority of the French would support
gay marriage, and Spain's new Socialist leader, Jose Luis Rodriguez
Zapatero supports legalizing same-sex marriage. In a recent poll,
two-thirds of Spaniards approved of same-sex marriage. – Sapa-AP
French prosecutor seeks to have gay wedding declared null [14/06/04]