AN ILLEGAL gay wedding has been held in a small town in the Pyrénées-Orientales, relaunching the debate on same sex marriage in France.
Dressed in his tricolore sash, the mayor of Cabestany, Jean Vila, tied the knot for two men, whose names have been given simply as Patrick, 48, and Guillaume, 37.
The two men exchanged rings and a kiss.
The mayor described the ceremony as a “militant act”, adding: “There are times when it is necessary to act outside the law. Refusing homosexual marriage is to deny the reality of thousands of couples.”
He said he wanted to encourage all mayors to celebrate gay marriages. “They say France is a modern, avant garde country, but at this rate we are going to be last in Europe to legalise it,” he said.
To avoid the marriage being subsequently anulled, the mayor decided not to record it officially – which means it remains symbolic only.
It is understood that the wedding was held partly so as to raise awareness of the issue in the run-up to the presidential elections next year, a move denounced as “a provocation” by Family Minister Claude Greff.
Solidarity Minister Roselyne Bachelot said she supported gay marriage in principle, but holding illegal weddings was “not the best way to advance the cause”.
When asked "Should gay marriage be legal in France?" on Facebook, our readers said:
"Of course it should be - I don't understand those who oppose it - surely it strengthens the institution"
- Jane R.
"Definitely should NOT be called marriage. That should remain the term used for opposite sex unions only. There should be a different word for a same sex union. And there is always the PACS."
- Brigitte C.
"I really do not see where the problem is. Isn't marriage a demonstration of love to each other? Does it matter whether the actual couple is gay or not? What are they afraid of? Look at the institution that is called marriage nowadays: as quickly as you can get married, you can get divorced again, does it really have any value at all anymore?"
- Claudia G.
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