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Constitutional Court Upholds Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in France

France's Constitutional Court, a panel of eight judges, six men and two women, ruled on Friday that the nation's law prohibiting same-sex marriage does not violate the Constiution and directed the issue to parliament, which it said could create new laws regarding same-sex unions.

The AP reports: France

Corinne Cestino and Sophie Hasslauer, who have lived together for 15 years and have four children, had challenged the constitutionality of France's law banning the gay marriage.

In its decision, the Council noted that lawmakers had agreed that the "difference in situations of same-sex couples and couples made up of a man and a woman can justify a difference in treatment concerning family rights."

"It is not up to the Constitutional Council to substitute its appreciation for that of lawmakers," the body said.

It noted that its job is to simply rule on whether a measure abides by the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the French Constitution. In this case, it ruled that the articles in question are, indeed, "in conformity with the constitution."

Cestino and Hasslauer have sought the right to wed.

The BBC adds:

An opinion poll suggests most French people are in favour.

The TNS Sofres survey of 950 people suggests that 58% of French people approve while 35% oppose gay marriage.

The idea that the court should rule at all on gay marriage was condemned by the leader of France's far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen.

Hasslauer and Cestino, entered into a civil union known as the Civil Solidarity Pact (PACS) in 2000, which offer tax and financial advantages to same-sex couples but not inheritance rights, or hospital rights, and offers few benefits to children of same-sex couples.

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Comments

  1. Hmm, the French know how to punt as well...

    Posted by: ichabod | Jan 28, 2011 7:51:32 AM


  2. They didn't just punt. They clearly stated banning gay marriage is constitutional.

    If gay people and our straight allies don't make an international issue out of this we WILL see other countries' high courts do this exact same thing.

    This is more damaging than prop 8 ever was, and now's our chance to make our voices heard.

    Posted by: Cory | Jan 28, 2011 8:05:30 AM


  3. ...well how France of all places.....that practically "Invented" the 3some.....banning Marriage Equality, but wants to make OTHER Provisions for SSM..? But thier Constitution is NOT OURS....so there is really no comparison...hmmm

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Jan 28, 2011 8:18:10 AM


  4. "difference in situations of same-sex couples and couples made up of a man and a woman can justify a difference in treatment concerning family rights."

    Please elaborate... I'm sure the children of gay parents are quite interested.

    At the least, they are suggesting that the law be changed- still, their summary is a foolish assertion.

    Posted by: pete N sfo | Jan 28, 2011 9:32:38 AM


  5. Astonishing and very disappointing.

    So much for the canard that "Majority rules!"; only, it seems, when the majority of people are AGAINST marriage equality.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 28, 2011 9:41:05 AM


  6. @Tampazene: This particular incident has nothing to do with majority rules. The court could only rule based on the French equivalent of DOMA. ( If you read the analysis on this site of attacking DOMA via the US Constitution, you'll see this is not straightforward).

    To assert the majority preference requires changing the laws.

    The issue may be driven forward by the EU to ensure uniformity across member nations. The French civil unions or PACSE confer so little in the way of rights, that they are not honoured as unions in other EU countries which do have civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples.

    It's getting close to the point where every country bordering France has full marriage or civil union.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 28, 2011 10:17:44 AM


  7. I hope all the Europeans who are constantly downing the U.S. and falsely claiming that Europe is Ultra-progressive take note........and this is as secular a society as you can get......All the anti-religionists should also take note......

    Posted by: Kayla | Jan 28, 2011 10:32:44 AM


  8. the comparisons with the usa are misguided.

    the council in france has less power than the scotus. and the constitution is not the same. not as damaging as cory says.

    sad nevertheless. not a good day to be french today.

    we're all in this together. i so hope that perry prevails, that we have marriage equality in new york, md, ri. france has long stopped being at the forefront of human rights. i hope the usa doesn't follow that path. or has it already?

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Jan 28, 2011 12:11:24 PM


  9. Daftpunk, I understand international politics very well and never said that council was as powerful as the supreme court nor that their constitution is the same as ours as you imply.

    But in my opinion this decision is more harmful to gay rights than prop 8, which only affected one state in America. Unlike prop 8, this decision can have a domino effect in Western Europe; the place where we're making the most strides

    Posted by: Cory | Jan 28, 2011 2:12:53 PM


  10. Well at least they weren't condemned to Hell and burned at the stake so that's progress anyway since the last time they got their hands on a lesbian.

    Posted by: Joan of Arc | Jan 28, 2011 2:50:50 PM


  11. "But in my opinion this decision is more harmful to gay rights than prop 8, which only affected one state in America. Unlike prop 8, this decision can have a domino effect in Western Europe; the place where we're making the most strides"

    First, the decision Proposition 8 may have effect on far more than California.

    Second, I really can't figure out what domino effect you could be referring to. Do you expect EU members that currently permit gay marriage to reverse it? Do you expect states contemplating civil unions or marriage equality to stop?

    "If gay people and our straight allies don't make an international issue out of this we WILL see other countries' high courts do this exact same thing."

    High courts that function under any civil law system are just as predisposed to make an analogous decision, irrespective of any external pressure.

    Posted by: Zach | Jan 28, 2011 5:20:11 PM


  12. @Cory: There's no risk of any domino effect. All that's happened is that the Constitutional Council has ruled that both marriage equality and absence of it would be in conformity with the French constitution. That means the legal option has now been exhausted and the only way to attain marriage equality would be through parliament, where it has a good chance of passing.

    By the way, France legalised homosexuality 212 years before the United States. I'm going to guess they'll get nation-wide marriage equality before the US, as well.

    Posted by: Luke | Jan 28, 2011 5:23:31 PM


  13. This is bad, because this decision basically says that same-sex marriage isn't an inherent right and gay/lesbian couples don't *require* marriage. And that's what a lot of people over in the States believe, also other countries with their marriage fights like Australia and the UK, and other European countries. That marriage isn't a right so therefore it's just to deny same-sex couples marriage. This ruling, although the court system is much different here than there, basically justifies that mentality that is universally shared by many, and that mentality could backfire on us in the States.

    With all of this said, with around 60% support, let us hope that the French legislators do the right thing and allow same-sex marriage.

    Posted by: Francis | Jan 28, 2011 5:24:05 PM


  14. "This ruling, although the court system is much different here than there, basically justifies that mentality that is universally shared by many, and that mentality could backfire on us in the States."

    Thank you Francis, for having the ability to read. This is the gist of what I'm saying.

    Posted by: Cory | Jan 28, 2011 5:51:36 PM


  15. Well, hopefully parliament will address this, particularly since it has public support, because their weak civil unions (PACS) are wholly inadequate for many gay families. (Ideally, all couples--gay and straight--would be able to chose between marriage and a lighter PAC, depending on their needs.)

    The French (and, to some extent, European) acceptance of gay couples but resistance to gay families has always been somewhat mysterious to me. It's as if they believe romantic gay unions are fine but too frivolous to involve children, or merit death and inheritance protections. It's a condescending sort of bigotry that's milder than the overt religious bigotry in the US but harmful to gay families nonetheless.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jan 28, 2011 5:54:00 PM


  16. Another reason not to visit France besides the horribly rude people.

    Posted by: Brad | Jan 29, 2011 7:30:01 PM


  17. How could the gayest nation on Earth be so bigoted?

    Posted by: Matthew | Jan 29, 2011 8:34:50 PM


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