Montpellier mayor marries gay couple

The Socialists hope to push through gay marriage this year

Hélène Mandroux did not register the marriage, so it will remain symbolic until such a time as the law is changed

A GAY couple have been “married” by the maire of Montpellier.

Socialist Hélène Mandroux married a local radio boss, Florent Robin, 49, and a teacher of Portuguese, Tito Santos-Mota, 51, in a symbolic ceremony designed to raise the issue of the unequal treatment of gay people.

Ms Mandroux did not officially enter the marriage in the register and the couple decided not to kiss, saying they would wait for it to be made official first.

The local councillors of the Socialist majority lined up outside the mairie to make a traditional haie d’honneur for the couple to walk between as they came out.

Mr Robin said: “This is a campaigning marriage. Today we are happy and proud, but the struggle goes on. Society is ready, but the politicians are still timid.”

The Conseil Constitutionnel recently ruled that it was constitutional not to allow gay marriage; however, nationally, the Socialists have declared their wish to introduce a law permitting it this year. Ms Mandroux has been campaigning for it since 2009 and has written to President Sarkozy deploring the fact that France is lagging behind nine other European countries on this.

The “marriage” in Montpellier follows another one in 2004 in Bègles, Gironde, which led to its annulation and mayor Noël Mammère being suspended for a month.

Gay people can have a pacs (civil partnership) in France, as can heterosexuals, but this does not confer the full range of rights and obligations that come with marriage.

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