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French court rules mayors may not refuse to wed same-sex couples

Marriage equality

Raw Story
Raw Story

Today, France’s Constitutional Court released a decision holding that mayors may not opt out of marrying same-sex couples.  Gay Star News has the story:

The Constitutional Court ruled mayors cannot refuse to marry gay couples on the grounds of religious or moral objections.

‘The mayors and their deputies, who are registrars, are not eligible for a conscience clause and must therefore marry couples of the same sex,’ they said in a statement.

‘The council considered that, having regard to the functions of the registrar of civil status in the marriage, the legislature did not violate their freedom of conscience.’

This summer, Jean-Michel Colo, the mayor of Arcangues, refused to wed two men and Claude Binaud, the mayor of Matha, said he would not marry two men but “might marry two girls.”

Public servants who refuse to marry same-sex couples could face jail time of up to three years and a fine of €45,000 (a little over $60,000).

In France, only city authorities may issue civil marriage licenses, although many couples choose to have religious ceremonies as well.


  • 1. My Beliefs Matter  |  December 15, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I find it very hard to swallow that anyone is forced to act outside of their conscience and beliefs. I do not believe it's the right decision. In fact, as a person who is married I find the changing of the rules unacceptable. After all, if you don't like the rules of a particular private club you find one that suits you – so why barge in on marriage and change the rules so sacred to so many of us? It's a form of fascism that compels this. But you know what – we'll define a new club called 'real marriage' that we believe in and leave you the shell of the old one. You don't want equality, you want equivalence – and that can never be.

  • 2. fiona64  |  December 16, 2013 at 9:02 am

    We are talking about a *civil service* position, not a religious one.

    BTW, I'm a straight, married, middle-aged woman. The slippery slope of what you propose is that someone might decide that YOUR rights should be infringed upon because they disagree with them. Which of your civil rights are okay for someone to infringe upon, eh? I'm curious.

  • 3. Weaver  |  December 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Your beliefs matter – to you. However, civil marriage is a civil contract & a civil right. A civil servant cannot pick & choose which civil laws they administer & for whom. Marital rules are sacred? We're not talking about a religious ceremony.

    I'm a married GAY man. I married my husband 5 years ago, after 27 years with him. You don't like the change in the rules? Who said you had to like them? My civil rights don't affect you. If something (G-d forbid) happens to me, like any other widower, my husband will be entitled to social security benefits & our daughter likewise. He'll inherit my half of our estate, without tax consequences, just like you would, should something happen to YOUR husband (G-d forbid).

  • 4. Weaver  |  December 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Just for your edification I have a real marriage, thank you. I use the same terms as you do. I have a spouse. I have a mother-in-law. I pay the same taxes as you, so why would I not have the civil & social rights as you?

    It so happens, my denomination accepts my right to marriage & was more than happy to 'bless' ours when we got married 5 years ago. However, in a society that cherishes the separation of church & state, what my particular church has to say about anyone's right to marry under their doctrine, should have no bearing on my (or any one else's) civil & legal rights & it's important not to confuse the two.

  • 5. sfbob  |  December 16, 2013 at 8:41 am

    You take a job. That job comes with responsibilities, which, in the case of a public official, includes providing services to all members of the public, not just those of whom you approve. If that doesn't sound good to you then take a different job.

    Mayors and other functionaries that perform marriages do not normally look into the backgrounds and "lifestyles" of those who appear before them seeking a license. But somehow if the couple applying for a license, which the law says they're qualified for, happens to be gay or lesbian, that's just morally unacceptable? You're being ridiculous. I doubt any public official would even think to ask for a exception if the couple were Muslim or included a person who had previously been divorced or if the couple were of two different religions or of two different races. So why should gay couples be any different?

  • 6. Maria  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

    My two cents is that you should not force a a clergy or a public servant who does not believe in same sex marriage to officiate a marriage. Instead we should have both public servants available who can do both kinds of marriage. If i am the one being married in the ceremony, i do not want an official who does not believe in what i am doing. As a society, we will always have differences. For instance, we know fast foods restaurants are not health. Are we going to police people from eating such if when they know the consequences and they want?

  • 7. Valquiria  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Public servants are paid to serve the public, not just the members of the public that they feel comfortable with. What if a public official doesn't "believe in" women's rights or the equality of the races? They still have to serve their female and non-white constituents. What makes it okay to force racists to serve black people, but not okay to force homophobes to serve gay people? Why is homophobia the only kind of prejudice that public officials may use as an excuse for not doing their job?

  • 8. SoCal_Dave  |  December 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    No clergy is being forced to do anything. And public servants are only being "forced" to do their job. If someone does not believe in serving the public (ALL of the public), maybe public service is not the job for them.

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