France annuls its
first gay marriage
France's first same-sex marriage, conducted allegedly in violation of the law June 5 by Bégles Mayor Noël Mamére, was annulled July 27 by a court in Bordeaux, of which Bégles is a suburb.
Mamére and the gay couple—Stéphane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier—have argued that the French civil code does not prohibit same-sex marriage.
The spurned grooms plan an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
The French gay-rights consortium Inter Centres LGBT denounced the ruling and urged President Jacques Chirac to call a national referendum on same-sex marriage.
'The Inter Centres LGBT regrets that the judges of Bordeaux refused to follow the example of the supreme court of Massachusetts, which did not hesitate, November 18, 2003, to read the law in the light of constitutional principles,' the group said.
'It seemed possible [to us] to interpret the blur of the French civil code (which does not define in any moment marriage as the union of a man and a woman) in the light of the 1st article of the French Declaration of Human and Civic Rights [which states:] 'Human beings are born and remain free and equal in rights.''
Polling has shown that two-thirds of French people support granting same-sex couples access to marriage. France currently lets same-sex couples form legal civil unions, but such partnerships are denied some of the rights and obligations of marriage.
Full same-sex marriage is allowed in Belgium; the Netherlands; the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec; Canada's Yukon Territory; and the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Marriagelike partnership laws are on the books in the Australian state of Tasmania, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, and the U.S. states of California, Hawaii, New Jersey and Vermont.