France's highest court has ruled that
city officials cannot refuse to marry gay and lesbian couples.
Plaintiffs in the case, a group of
mayors and registrars opposed to France's marriage law, which came
into effect in May after a heated debate, argued that the law was
unconstitutional because it did not include a “freedom of
conscience” clause which would allow officiators the right to
refuse to marry gay couples if it conflicts with their religious or
But France's highest court, the
Constitutional Council, disagreed in a decision handed down Friday
“The Council judged that, in view of
the function of a state official in the officiating of a marriage,
the legislation does not violate their freedom of conscience,” the
The ruling was denounced by Arcangues
Mayor Jean-Michel Colo, the first official to refuse to marry a gay
“The Constitutional Council has been
manipulated by politics,” Colo told the AFP. “It is a political
Colo said that the group would take its
case to the European Court of Human Rights.
In France, a marriage can only be made
official by city authorities.