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French high court
rejects marriage of gay couple

French high court
rejects marriage of gay couple

France's highest court Tuesday rejected as unlawful the first marriage by a gay couple in France, annulling the knot tied by the two men in 2004. "Under French law, marriage is a union between a man and a woman," the court ruled, backing a 2005 decision by an appeals court in Bordeaux.

Stephane Charpin and Bertrand Charpentier were married in a much-publicized civil ceremony in the town of Begles, in the Bordeaux region in southwest France, on June 5, 2004. The government immediately said the union was outside the law, and a series of court decisions unfavorable to the couple has followed. No other gay couple has since married in France.

Prosecutor Marc Domingo said during an earlier court hearing that it is the parliament, not judges, who should have the final word in any legalization of marriages involving gay couples.

The couple said after the 2005 appeals court ruling that they would take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. It was not immediately clear whether they would do so.

The lower court that initially rejected the marriage noted that gay couples in France are already covered by legislation that grants nonmarried cohabiting couples of the same or opposite sexes some rights enjoyed by married couples. (AP)

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