Mayors may decline to marry gays

François Hollande says mayors will have 'freedom of conscience' if gay marriage is legalised

21 November 2012

MAYORS will be allowed to choose if they carry out gay marriages or not, President Hollande has announced, in a bid to placate opposition to his plans.

The president made the remarks during a speech to the Association des maires de France.

Commenting on demonstrations that took place last weekend the president said: “These debates are legitimate in a society like ours.”

The Interior Minister Christiane Taubira will hold meetings with representatives of the AMF in December to discuss methods by which a 'conscience clause' could be applied to legislation.

A spokesman for the president said the move was not a climbdown, but a way of easing the path towards legalisation.

Many town mayors and representatives of associations of local government took part in an anti-gay marriage march in the capital last weekend.

Other options include enlarging the geographical area in which a couple choose to marry or widening the powers of delegation for local authority staff to carry out marriages.

“When one wants to be successful with a reform, you need to react to questions and criticisms centred on it,” they said.

Parliamentary debates on the law are scheduled to begin on January 29.

The spokesman for Inter-LGBT, Nicolas Gauguin said the president's suggestion may not be legally possible: “I don't understand how you could justify a law that is not applied in the same manner across the whole country.”

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