France’s high court ruled that mayors in France do not have the right to deny LGBT couples from marrying. The decision was made on October 18 and stated that religious or moral beliefs are not excuses.
With the five-page ruling, the decision was made that, “Freedom of conscience is not violated by the officiating of weddings” and that officials must “apply the law and guarantee the proper functioning and neutrality of the civil service.”
On September 18, seven mayors filed their appeal with the Constitutional Council after the country legalized same-sex marriage in May. Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned several mayors that discrimination could subject them to a five year imprisonment or a fee of $7,500 euro.
“The legislator has not violated their freedom of conscience,” the Council said in its ruling. “The government did not include an opt-out clause ‘to assure the law is applied by its agents and to guarantee the proper functioning and neutrality of public service.’”
The decision to legalize gay marriage in France has caused massive riots in the country.
France joins several countries in legalizing same-sex marriage. Other countries include Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa. Same-sex marriage is legal in some states in Mexico and the United States.