A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

France court orders review of same-sex marriage ban

France's Court of Cassation, the country's highest court of appeals, on Tuesday ordered the nation's Constitutional Council [official websites, in French] to rule on whether the country's ban [French Civil Code text] on same-sex marriage conflicts with the constitution [text]. The order comes after a gay French couple challenged the ban in a Reims court, saying it limited their personal freedoms [AFP report]. Rights groups are optimistic that the ban will be overturned, as the trend in French law is moving towards equal rights among gay and straight couples. Last year, a French court ordered the country's government to extend adoption rights to a gay woman [JURIST report]. The court held that French adoption law [Article VIII French Civil Code], which currently allows single people to adopt children but bars same-sex partners from doing so, illegally discriminates [Le Monde report, in French] against homosexuals.

Courts both foreign and domestic are increasingly having to rule on the issue of gay marriage. In the US, judges in Wyoming and California [JURIST reports] have confronted the issue this year. Governments in Argentina, Kenya and Mexico [JURIST reports] are also addressing the issue. In 2007, the French Court of Cassation ruled that same-sex marriages are not valid under French law [JURIST report] and that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. The case arose in 2004 when Stephane Charpin and Bertrand Charpentier were married [JURIST report], after which both a local court and intermediate appeals court ruled that the marriage was invalid. State lawyers argued that it was not an issue for the courts to decide, but rather was a question to be answered by parliament.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.