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Monday, 24 June 2013

Same-sex marriage legal in France unless...your partner is the "wrong" nationality.

So you're French and either gay or lesbian, and you want to marry your partner.

Well, as you probably know, given all the media coverage there was both domestically and internationally, now you can - in France at least.

Since May 18, just a day after the "wise men" of the Conseil Constitutionnel (Consitutional Council) approved the bill that had made its way through both the National Assembly and the Senate, and the president, François Hollande, had formerly declared it law, France became the 14th country to recognise same-sex marriage.

Less than a fortnight later Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau exchanged vows and rings in front of the  mayor, of Montpellier Hélène Mandroux, and a global audience to become the first same-sex couple to marry officially in France.

Progress indeed.

Montpellier's mayor Hélène Mandroux with Vincent Autin (right) and Bruno Boileau (screenshot AFPTV)

Except the so-called "Mariage pour tous" isn't quite what it's cracked up to be.

Ah yes. You knew there had to be an anomaly didn't you.?

Because if you're French and your partner and prospective spouse happens to come from one of any 11 countries then it's tough, because you won't be able to marry them in France.

A circular from the ministry of justice and signed by the minister who so energetically and eloquently guided the same-sex marriage legislation through parliament, Christine Taubira, says as much.

And the French website StreetPress managed to get its hands on the document and publish it in its entirety (available to download as a pdf file).

The countries concerned - in no particular order other than the one given in the circular - are Poland, Morocco, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Cambodia, Laos, Tunisia and Algeria.

Yes a heap of countries with which France has historically had (and continues to have) very close links and a couple (Poland and Slovenia) who are fellow members of the European Union.

None of that matters though because, as far as the ministry of justice is concerned, when couples of the same sex wish to marry and "one of the spouses is a national of one of these countries, the state registrar shall not solemnise the marriage."

On Rue89, another French website, 25-year-old "Lise" (that's the name she chose to use in the interview) who currently lives in Berlin with her partner "Agnieszka" explains how she discovered the couple wouldn't be able to marry in France in spite of the new law because she had made 'the mistake of falling in love with a Polish woman."

It's all apparently to do with individual bilateral agreements between France and each of the 11 countries on the application of the Marriage Act and, for the ministry of justice, it's now up to the foreign ministry to find a solution and "revise the agreements" as necessary.

Nothing like passing the buck.


After heated parliamentary and media debate and sometimes violent street protests which only served to fuel the decidedly homophobic views of a very verbal minority, the government still couldn't get the legislation right.

It drafted and passed a bill which, in its detail, could never truly completely deliver on what it had promised - and that's "Mariage pour tous".


Anonymous said...

Yup, welcome to Poland -.-'


Jonathan said...

+1, on n y pense pas toujours, mais il est bien plus simple de laisser un débat ouvert pour qu une discussion s ensuive.

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