France - Morocco

Court overrules Moroccan exception to French gay marriage law

The Gay Pride parade in Paris in June - the first since the same-sex marriage law was passed
The Gay Pride parade in Paris in June - the first since the same-sex marriage law was passed Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

A French court has overturned an earlier ruling that a gay Moroccan man could not marry his French partner because of an apparent legal loophole. An official circular sent out in May told officials that citizens of 11 countries could not benefit from France's controversial same-sex marriage law but on Firday a court in Chambéry ruled that the law itself contradicted that order.


Dominique and Mohamed had hoped to wed in September in Jacob-Bellecombette in the French Alps but the Chambéry public prosecutor's office blocked the marriage.

It cited a justice ministry circular that said that longstanding bilateral agreements meant that the citizens of 11 countries, including Morocco, were subject to the marriage law of their country of origin and that those countries do not endorse same-sex unions.

The 1981 agreement with Morocco stipulates that conditions for a marriage are controlled by "the law of the country of which [each partner] has citizenship".

The circular argued that bilateral agreements have a higher authority thatn French law.

But the court pointed that the the wording of the same-sex marriage law contradicts that assertion in saying that "two people of the same sex may marry when, for at least one of them, either the law of his or her country or the law in the state or territory in which he or she has a home or residence allows it";

That "implicitly but necessarily" changes the situation and means that "discrimination to the right to marry based on sex justifies the removal of article five of he Franco-Moroccan agreement".

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