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Gay couple sues French mayor over marriage refusal

One French mayor maintains that a marriage should only be between a man and a woman
One French mayor maintains that a marriage should only be between a man and a woman Reuters/Toby Melville

A gay couple in the Southwest of France has sued a local mayor for refusing to marry them, just months after François Hollande’s government passed a law to allow same-sex unions. 


While some mayors around France have threatened to refuse to marry gay couples, mayor Jean-Michel Colo of Arcangues is the first to officially refuse to officiate at the wedding of Jean-Michel Martin and Guy Martineau-Espel.

The couple’s lawyer, Isabelle Duguet, has filed a case against Colo for discrimination and refusing to carry out his official duties.

Colo, who has served as mayor of Arcangues for three decades, could face five years in prison and a 75,000 euro fine.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls has said that any public official who refused to respect the same-sex marriage laws would be guilty of discrimination and thus would face up to three years in prison plus 45,000 euros in fines.

However, the impending legal action has not changed Mayor Colo’s mind, who previously made a statement that he would rather “go to the gallows” than back down.

"For me, marriage is for a woman and man to have children, “ Colo had said earlier. “I am not discriminating, as a same-sex couple is sterile. It's a parody of equality, it's a big lie. “

The first gay marriage in France was held in Montpellier on 29 May, following the  government’s legalisation of same-sex unions in April. France has become the 14th country to legalise gay marriage.

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