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French court rejects ‘gay marriage’ bid

PARIS (BP)–France’s highest court refused March 13 to recognize a “gay marriage” performed in 2004 and declared the union void.

Two French homosexual men, Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier, “married” in June 2004 with the mayor of the town of Begles officiating — despite the fact “gay marriage” is illegal in the country.

They previously lost in one court and lost again when France’s top court said only a “new law by parliament” could change the situation.

“Under French law, marriage is a union between a man and a woman,” the court ruled.

The men, though, say they will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The Begles mayor, Noel Mamere, is supporting them in their legal battle. Mamere was suspended from his mayoral duties for one month because he officiated at the ceremony.

“I was actually enforcing the European Convention for Human Rights which prohibits any discrimination when I performed the marriage in June 2004,” he told BBC News.

“Gay marriage” could be an issue in France’s presidential election in April, BBC News reported. The country already recognized same-sex civil partnerships, which grant homosexual couples some of the legal benefits of marriage.

Five nations worldwide recognize “gay marriage” — Canada, Spain, South Africa, Belgium and the Netherlands.

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