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French Mayor Defies Law, Marries Gay Couple

French Mayor Defies Law, Marries Gay Couple


The mayor of the small French town of Cabestany officiated at the marriage of two men Saturday, in defiance of national law, which allows only civil unions, not marriage, for gay couples.

Mayor Jean Vila said performing the wedding for the men, identified only as Patrick and Guillaume, was a "militant act," Reuters reports.

"To outlaw homosexual marriage is to deny the reality of thousands of homosexual couples," he said after the ceremony, held in the Cabestany City Hall. "This decision to join these two people for me is an act of anger and revolt in the face of the authorities' refusal to legitimize such unions." He did not enter the marriage in the official registry, however, to avoid the possibility of annulment.

Reuters notes, "France's constitutional authority in January upheld the country's ban on gay weddings and in June parliament rejected an opposition Socialist Party bill attempting to legalize them."

Claude Greff, President Nicolas Sarkozy's junior cabinet minister for family, called the wedding a "provocation on the eve of the presidential election." Sarkozy is up for reelection next year, but Socialist challenger Francois Hollande leads him in polls.

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