France’s Gay Marriage Bill Gets Final Approval from High Court

France's Constitutional Council has approved the marriage equality bill, denying a challenge from opposition groups, and the measure is now set to become law, The Local reports:

HollandeFrance made history on April 23 when it became the 14th country to vote gay marriage into law but opposition UMP deputies referred the bill to the Council, which has the right to throw it out if it is against the country's constitution.

However "les sages" as the council members are known has suggested they would not intervene with the wishes of parliament and on Friday they stuck to their word.

A statement by the council, however, said that gay adoption did not automatically mean the "right to a child" and that the "interest of the child" would be the overriding factor in such cases.

All that remains now is for Francois Hollande (pictured) to sign the bill into law, which he is expected this week. The first gay weddings could take place as early as June, although some mayors across the country have refused to administer the ceremonies.


  1. Sara says


    You may say so, because you did say so. As there is no English translation available, could you briefly explain how they dealt with the adoption provision and the claim that the law allocated too much authority to the President to set the rules?

    I am so glad this came out the right way. I don’t understand how France can allow such an important legal body to be populated by politicians. It is a recipe for conflict of interest. While the US Supreme Court might occasionally get a former politician, that is pretty rare.

  2. deepdowntennessee says

    @ Sara
    I would call Thomas and Scalia political activists. Citizens United seemed pretty political. Bush v. Gore pretty political too. No really I wouldn’t think of Scotus as a non-political institution.

  3. titbug says

    @ Sara

    Thank you :) Worth noting that the French CC generally delivers their decision on Thursdays (and since it didn’t come yesterday people assumed it would be next week) but unusually put it out on a Friday … that just happens May 17th – International Day Against Homophobia. If that’s not a way to spit in the face of the opponents, I don’t know what is.

    The articles I read don’t go into detail yet but clearly they dismissed every argument, including the President’s authority one.
    And as far as the adoption goes, they have also dismissed the legal arguments while making clear, as the article excerpted above says, that legalizing gay adoption does not mean every gay adoption must go through. The process that determines if adoptive parents are potentially good parents must be respected for gay parents like it was for straight parents. Which seems pretty self-evident but I guess they wanted to clarify that saying in law that being gay is not grounds to be denied adoption does not mean authorities should be afraid of denying adoption to gay couples they feel will not be good parents. Seems like a rhetorical nod to acknowledge opponents’ concerns to me – and I bet some bigoted local officials will try to use that to defend their attempts to cause problems with some adoptions under false pretenses – but nothing to be losing sleep over. There is some interesting language in there about adoption in general that some family lawyers seem to say creates constitutional protection for adopted children (of any type of couple) that didn’t exist before but I don’t know enough about that kind of adoption law to understand what the subtleties are.

    If I read something more specific I will re-comment. I think the main concern now is what opponents are going to try to do on the day of the first nuptials. I am pretty certain and concerned some are going to try and ruin the day for some of the first couples unfortunately.

  4. titbug says

    We have no particular information yet but considering they are still not cancelling their demonstration on May 26th I d bet some of the most extreme groups will try and disturb some of the first ceremonies. I imagine some of the more reasonable members will realize what a disastrous PR move it would be – putting a human face on the distress those protests are causing when upset couples whose “beautiful day” is ruined talk to the news – but I don’t doubt some of the extremists will want to “go there”. And Hollande had a short speech tonight firmly saying it was now time for everyone to “respect the Laws of the Republic” which indicates that they have the same concerns as I do.
    But we won so it will be all good soon enough.

  5. Chris says

    @titbug Thank you for all your very informative comments about the marriage equality bill in France. Do you have any idea as to when the president will sign this into law?

  6. titbug says


    The information we are given is that he will sign it tomorrow. I’d think he’d want to wait Monday for better media coverage but Hollande’s media strategy has always puzzled me.

  7. willy says

    the president will sign the bill tomorrow, saturday, then it will take 2 weeks to transmit new papers to city halls in the whole country.

  8. Sara says


    Here is the decision, available in French only.


  9. Sara says


    You can call Scalia and Thomas and anyone else whatever you like. Neither is an elected official and neither will ever be an elected official. The vast majority of justices have careers in the law, followed by careers in the judiciary. They then sit for life on the Supreme Court, and almost never have any career plans beyond the Court, which shields them from outside influence. It is set up to minimize politics.

    If our Supreme Court were like the French constitutional counsel, it might consist of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and a host of other Republican and Democratic politicians who have active, current political relationships and have lots of old scores to settle, alliances to maintain, and political careers to consider. There’s no comparison. And it is amazing that the French allow their legislation to be vetted by such a body.

  10. Keith says

    Sara what is your problem? Are you not pleased by the decision of the French Republic?

    Until a few years ago the House of Lords in the UK was our highest court of Appeal; and until shortly before that the Lord Chancellor sat in it as Judge, in the Cabinet, and as Chief Judge of Chancery. But no one ever impeached the impartiality of its Judicial deliberations. Politicians appoint all judges in Liberal democracies except where they are elected. It is churlish to complain about the Constitutional provisions of a Democratic Republic merely as it does not meet your American view about Judicial tenure.

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