Court nullifies France's first same-sex marriage
July 27 2004 11:00 PM ET
A French court nullified the country's first same-sex marriage on Tuesday, a ceremony that led the government to try to suspend the high-profile Green Party mayor who conducted it. The couple, Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier, exchanged vows last month in the Bordeaux suburb of Begles. Their lawyer said the ruling would not take effect pending an appeal. The court in Bordeaux said in a statement it had "declared the marriage conducted null." The couple expressed optimism that the move would be overturned, promising to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. "We are sure that we will win, because we'll take this as far as possible," Charpentier told reporters after the decision.
Begles mayor Noel Mamere, a leading Green Party lawmaker, officiated at the June 5 marriage, defying the government and saying he wanted to take a step toward ending discrimination of all kinds. In France mayors carry out civil marriages. Interior minister Dominique de Villepin stripped Mamere of his official duties for a month on June 15, basing his decision on a law allowing the suspension of mayors who "gravely misunderstand the duties of their office." The exchange of vows between Chapin and Charpentier was recorded by television cameras and journalists. Mamere wore the blue, white, and red sash of the French Republic when he married the couple.
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