France rules mayors cannot refuse to marry gay couples
Reposted from France 24: http://www.france24.com/en/20131018-french-mayors-gay-marriage-opt-out-bid
France's Constitutional Court has ruled that the country's mayors cannot refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings, rejecting a bid by a group of mayors who claimed gay marriage went against their moral or religious beliefs.
France's Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that the country's mayors cannot refuse to officiate at same-sex marriages, rejecting a bid by a group of mayors who claimed gay marriage went against their moral or religious beliefs.
The Constitutional Council's ruling followed an appeal by mayors and registrars opposed to France’s controversial bill legalising same-sex marriages, which came into effect in May this year.
They argued that the same-sex marriage bill should have included a “freedom of conscience” clause, giving officiators the right not to carry out same-sex marriages if it conflicts with their personal religious or moral beliefs. The lack of such a clause in the bill goes against the French constitution, they claim.
But the Council, France’s highest legal authority, rejected this argument in its ruling on Friday morning.
“The Council judged that, in view of the functions of a state official in the officiating of a marriage, the legislation does not violate their freedom of conscience,” the Council said in a statement.
However, the group of mayors had already stated that they intend to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if the French court ruled against them.