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Monday, 6 June 2011

Lesbian couple beat France's same-sex marriage ban

Same-sex marriage isn't allowed in France but a lesbian couple managed to tie the knot on Saturday all the same.

Newlyweds Stéphanie (left) and Elise (screenshot from BFM TV)

The two women were allowed to say "I do" in a civil ceremony at the Town Hall in the eastern city of Nancy because, legally, one of them is still a man.

As the free daily 20 minutes reports Stéphanie Nicot was actually born Stéphane and although the 59-year-old has undergone a sex change she has refused to provide the documentation to the French authorities to have her gender changed on the register of births, marriages and deaths.

That meant Nancy's deputy mayor, Olivier Husson, was able to perform a ceremony between Stéphanie and her 27-year-old partner Elise that was in his words "both respectful and legal".

"As required by law we checked the status of both partners," he told the all-news channel i>Télé.

"The records showed that the application to marry had been made by a man and a woman," he continued.

"The procureur de la Republique (district attorney's office or public prosecutor) - whose permission was needed - didn't object and so the marriage was allowed to go ahead."

The apparent contradiction of a law which doesn't recognise same-sex marriages but which allowed Saturday's marriage to take place wasn't lost on Nicot, as she told a press conference afterwards.

"Paradoxically in discriminating against us the system has also granted us the most beautiful of gifts," she said.

"The situation is a little crazy but it also serves as a symbol for all the millions of gays and lesbians in France who would like to have the same right (to marry)."

In January France's constitutional council upheld a ban on same-sex marriage ruling that it was "in keeping with the constitution" and that decision means that only parliament can change the law.

Later this week the opposition Socialist party will take advantage of parliamentary time reserved for private members' bills to debate same-sex marriage in the National Assembly.


Anonymous said...

Is that Benny Hill?

Anonymous said...

It sure looks like Benny Hill with a wig. OK. Mustn't laugh. Main thing is that this couple is happy.

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