Friday, January 28, 2011

France’s Constitutional Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban - Lez Get Real

France’s Constitutional Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban - Lez Get Real: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

France’s ban on same-sex marriages has been upheld by that country’s Constitutional Council after it ruled that two women raising four children together do not have the right to wed.

The Constitutional Council said it found no conflict between the law barring same-sex marriages as it stands and fundamental rights enshrined by the constitution.

The ruling relieves the government of any obligation to grant gays the wedding rights enjoyed by heterosexuals, however the court also said it was up to parliament to decide whether the law should change, rather than constitutional authorities,and left the door open for future legislative changes.

France has allowed civil unions between people of the same sex since 1999 but that accords fewer rights than marriage proper. Corinne Cestino and Sophie Hasslauer, who have lived together for 15 years and have four children, challenged the constitutionality of the French marriage law and had hoped that France would join EU partners including Spain, Belgium and Netherlands that have legalized same-sex marriage.

The couple’s lawyers are hoping the decision will now encourage lawmakers to draw up a parliamentary bill on same-sex marriage, which could make the issue a theme in next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

According to Reuters, the ruling comes as a just released opinion poll suggested views had changed radically in the past five years and that a majority of French people now accept the idea of same-sex marriage.

The results of the survey by TNS Sofres showed 51 percent of respondents in favour of gay marriage and 35 percent against. In 2006, the agency reported 51 percent opposition and 45 percent support.

Same-sex marriage is permitted in Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Spain, according to the Council of Europe.

It is also permitted in South Africa, Argentina, Canada and in some U.S. states.

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