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French appeals court nullifies France's first same-sex marriage

French appeals court nullifies France's first same-sex marriage

The first gay couple to be married in France lost an appeals court battle Tuesday to have their union legally recognized but vowed to keep on fighting. An appellate court in the southwestern city of Bordeaux upheld a lower court's decision that nullified the union of Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier and ruled that any redefinition of marriage should be taken up by lawmakers. The couple said they would appeal the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. "We are disappointed," Chapin said. "We thought we had the right to equality." Chapin and Charpentier exchanged vows June 5 last year in a highly publicized ceremony in the Bordeaux suburb of Begles. The government immediately said the marriage was not legal. In the lower court's ruling July 27, it said that gay couples are already covered under the so-called PACs legislation, which grants nonmarried cohabiting couples of the same or opposite sexes some of the rights enjoyed by married couples. French leaders on both sides of the political aisle--ruling conservatives and opposition Socialists--have spoken out against legalizing same-sex marriages. However, polls have suggested that a majority of the French would support same-sex marriage. "The justice system has decided that homosexuals should stay in their corner," Chapin said. "We are going to do everything to have the freedom to love each other." (AP)

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