Gay marriage: another U-turn

President retracts plan to allow mairies to refuse to marry homosexuals if gay marriage legalised

22 November 2012

PRESIDENT François Hollande has retracted an offer to allow town mayors to refuse to marry gay couples if gay marriage was legalised.

Just 24 hours after telling the Association des Maires de France that they would be allowed “freedom of conscience” on the issue, he climbed down after being attacked from all sides of the political divide.

He was attacked from left-wing supporters of a bill to allow gay marriage – something Hollande himself had campaigned for and proposed after election to the presidency.

The head of Inter-LGBT Nicolas Gougain said he had spoken with the president. “He told us he regretted using this expression.”

The head of the Socialist Party in the National Assembly, Claude Bartolone said shortly after Hollande made his announcement that no such clause existed in the legislation. “It was a formulation put together by the president,” he said, adding that Hollande would have opportunity to “clarify things”.

Several MPs were quick to point out that the application of the law was not a matter of conscience.

The green coalition party Europe Écologie-Les Verts described the president's words as “a humiliation for millions of citizens of our country”.

France's right-wing also attacked the remarks.

UMP deputy and mayor Laurent Wauquiez was in the audience at the time of the comments.
“You needed to pinch yourself to believe it. It gave an impression of complete disorder.” He said the president seemed like he was trying to buy the silence of the mayors associations.

Photo: Matthieu Riegler/WikiCommons

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