France's First Same-sex 'Marriage' Declared 'Null and Void'

( [email protected] ) Jul 27, 2004 11:11 AM EDT

On July 27, a French court officially declared France’s first same-sex “marriage” void, only reiterating what the government immediately said when the marriage was performed a month ago in the southwest city of Bordeaux.

The mayor of the Bordeaux suburb of Begles, Noel Mamere, who is also a leading member of the opposition Greens party, performed the same-sex “marriage” between a male shopkeeper and a male nurse on June 5.

Justice Minister Dominique Perben had said immediately after the marriage that it was null and void.

The Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin stripped Mamere of his official duties based on a law allowing the suspension of mayors who "gravely misunderstand the duties of their office."

The court in Bourdeaux upheld French law, which only allows for marriage between a man and a woman.

"The tribunal declared null and void the marriage between Mr. Stephane Chapin and Mr. Bertrand Charpentier," the court said in its ruling.

Chapin and Charpentier said they would appeal.

According to Emmanuel Pierrat, the couple's attorney, the court had based its ruling on the argument that marriage is traditionally considered the foundation of the family and that one of its main functions is to have children.

While the decision was hailed by members of President Jacques Chirac's ruling conservative party and Roman Catholic church leaders, homosexual advocates considered the court’s annullment of the ceremony a devastating setback.

Socialist politicans have attempted to use a 1999 civil law, PaCS, which allows couples, regardless of gender, to receive certain legal rights of marriage dealing with tax and inheritance, to push for same-sex "marriage". They argue that the text of the law is unclear.

President Chirac has declared that French law stipulates marriage to be only between a man and a woman.

The only places in the world where same-sex “marriages” are recognized by the law are European countries Belgium and the Netherlands, the U.S. state of Massachusetts and three Canadian provinces. Spain's new Socialist government plans to present a draft law on same-sex marriages in September.