France constitutional body says no to freedom to marry (for now)

January 28, 2011 at 9:30 am 86 comments

By Adam Bink

Some not-so-great news out of France:

PARIS — France’s laws prohibiting gay marriage do not violate the constitution, the country’s top constitutional watchdog said Friday.

However, the Constitutional Council said it is up to the country’s parliament to make laws.

The decision leaves an opening for amendments in the future — and hope for two women who had challenged the French civil code’s stipulation that marriage must be between a man and a woman.

Corinne Cestino and Sophie Hasslauer, who have lived together for 15 years and have four children, have challenged the constitutionality of the country’s law on banning the gay marriage.

The issue exposes a paradox in France: while the country often has an anything-goes attitude to romance and sexuality, it can be conservative with family values. The couple and advocacy group Act Up Paris hoped France would soon join EU partners including Spain, Belgium and Netherlands that have legalized same-sex marriage.

However, it does leave open the possibility of a change through legislative means.

I had the pleasure of meeting Rep. Kucinich’s wife the other day, Elizabeth, who is of English decent, and we chatted about her friend who studied at Cambridge University and wished one day to be married at the University. She said England sometimes seems a long way off from abandoning religious traditions, which is something I often hear from friends in France, as well.

Entry filed under: Marriage equality.

Casting call 5 degrees and still hot

86 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peterplumber  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:31 am


    • 2. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:34 am

      boo to France….subs glad mentioned this part though:
      However, it does leave open the possibility of a change through legislative means

  • 3. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Is there any chance the legislature will act on making such a change?

    • 4. Franck  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

      From what I’ve seen… not under this government. Sarkozy is a far right member in all but name, and his cronies hold most of the central administration. They recently upheld the ban on adoption and assisted reproduction for same-sex couples, too, and some in the party find that even the current Civil Union scheme gives same-sex couples “too many rights”.

      If anything is to happen on the LGBTQI folks in France, it’ll require the Socialist Party to pull together and oust Sarkozy in 2012…

      – Franck P. Rabeson
      Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1316 days, as of today.

      • 5. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:52 am

        Thank you for the answer, Franck.

        I figured they were leaning toward the more conservative side, what with banning headscarves recently.

        • 6. fern  |  January 29, 2011 at 8:37 am

          Since the revolution there has been separation of Church and government, the veil being a religious symbol cannot be accepted in schools, the French also feel culturally threatened by the Muslim population. The Roman Catholic Church is and has always been a traditional ally of the French right to the point of hiding a French NAZI war criminal in their cloisters.
          What you people think about gai Paris only exists in Paris, once in the countryside in small villages the priests still tell the mayors what to do.

  • 7. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:46 am

    • 8. Straight for Equality  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:04 am

      • 9. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:27 am


        • 10. Ann S.  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:41 am

          Quel dommage!

          • 11. JonT  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

  • 12. Peterplumber  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

    UPDATE Mass DOMA cases

    Several more amicus briefs in support of reversal of district court decision

    Robert P. George, Sherif Girgis, and Ryan T. Anderson

    Concerned Women of America

    Massachusetts Family Institute

    Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary

    Agudath Israel of America

    • 13. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

      good grief!

      • 14. Peterplumber  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:17 am

        I know!!! That’s a full weekend of reading. I tend to fall asleep about halfway thru these amicus breifs.

    • 15. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:42 am

      Agudath Israel of America

      I think this group could easily be considered an anti-gay hate group and would like to criminalize homosexual acts.

      IMHO, their secular moral arguments are worthless. I could care less how much they disapprove of homosexuality – and that should not be a court matter.

      • 16. Straight for Equality  |  January 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm

        I haven’t read the entire brief yet, but I don’t think it holds up at all. It seems like the logical way to look at it is that if the government has a rational interest in promoting morality, then the only way that gives them a basis for DOMA is if we are to believe that it is more moral for same-sex couples to live together and raise their children outside of marriage than if the were married. This says that living together is more moral than being married. Do they really want to go there?

      • 17. Michael Ejercito  |  January 30, 2011 at 1:06 pm

        Agudath Israel of America

        I think this group could easily be considered an anti-gay hate group and would like to criminalize homosexual acts.

        IMHO, their secular moral arguments are worthless. I could care less how much they disapprove of homosexuality – and that should not be a court matter.

        A lot of laws that we have are based on moral disapproval or moral approval, such as laws against prostitution and gambling. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Mann Act ( a law prohibiting the interstate transport of females for immoral purposes) holding that “[t]here is unquestionably a control in the states over the morals of their citizens, and, it may be admitted, it extends to making prostitution a crime.” 207 U.S. 308 at 321

        Of course, morality is not a catch-all constitutional justification. The First Amendment severely restricts restrictions on speech on the basis of immoral content (e.g., a law or policy prohibiting people from speaking favorably of homosexuality) and the Supreme Court recognized that private sexual behavior is a protected liberty interest. ( Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558)

        Key to this is that content restrictions on speech are subject to strict scrutiny, and that infringements on private consensual sexual behavior are subject to heightened scrutiny, while prostitution and gambling are neither fundamental rights nor protected liberty interests. (Several courts recognized that Lawrence applied heightened scrutiny to sexual liberty claims e.g., the First Circuit in Cook v. Gates, noting that “if Lawrence had applied traditional rational
        basis review…the
        convictions under the Texas statute would have been sustained”, that its ”
        holding can only be squared
        with the Supreme Court’s acknowledgment of morality as a rational
        basis [in Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc., 501
        U.S. 560 at 569] by concluding that a protected liberty interest was at stake,
        and therefore a rational basis for the law was not sufficient” and that it was “another in this line of Supreme
        Court authority that identifies a protected liberty interest and
        then applies a standard of review that lies between strict scrutiny
        and rational basis.” )

        • 18. Michael Ejercito  |  January 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

          More on Cook v. Gates

          In other words, Lawrence balanced the
          strength of the state’s asserted interest in prohibiting immoral
          conduct against the degree of intrusion into the petitioners’
          private sexual life caused by the statute in order to determine
          whether the law was unconstitutionally applied.

          • 19. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm

            Maude….realtor pretending to be a lawyer alert…MAUDE!!!…. 8 / ….Ronnie

    • 20. Michael Ejercito  |  January 30, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      I read the amicus briefs.

      At least seven of them cite Baker v. Nelson .

      • 21. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        MAUDE!!!!….O.T.I.O…. > I ….Ronnie

      • 22. Kathleen  |  January 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm

        I know! It’s hard to believe it wasn’t all of them, right???

        • 23. Michael Ejercito  |  January 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm

          For example, the brief of the states of Indiana, Colorado,
          Michigan, South Carolin, and utah deals solely with the Tenth Amendment issue, “leaving [the equal protection] issue for others to address”. And as the brief of the Massachusetts Family Institute (whose argument is entirely about Baker’s relevance to this case), admits in Footnote 3, “[It], of course, does not foreclose challenges to DOMA under other
          Constitutional provisions. In particular, Baker does not prevent this Court from
          weighing the merits of Massachusetts’ arguments that DOMA violates the Tenth
          Amendment and Spending Clause.”

          • 24. Ronnie  |  January 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

            8 / ….Ronnie

          • 25. Rhie  |  January 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm

            *giggling* OH MY

        • 26. Kathleen  |  January 30, 2011 at 4:28 pm

          I need a sarcasm font.

          • 27. JonT  |  January 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm


  • 28. bJason  |  January 28, 2011 at 9:57 am


    • 29. fiona64  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:14 am

      Et zut alors, aussi!


      • 30. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

        Zut alors! I have missed one!

        • 31. fiona64  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:09 am


          I loved Jerry Orbach.


          • 32. Rhie  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm

            OMG THAT WAS HIM!?


        • 33. bJason  |  January 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm

          I love The Little Mermaid!

        • 34. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm

          I’m sooooo glad other people got that reference.

          • 35. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm

            I love the Little Mermaid, but I was running a bit late earlier, so did not get to post anything until just now. I have a friend who occasionally dresses as Ursula for shows. And he got mad when he went to our local Disney store and could not find an Ursula there. Asked them whether it was because Ursula was a big girl or a girl of color or a combination of both! The next time we went to that store, they had tons of Ursulas! See, we can make a difference for equality, even at a Disney Store in NC!

          • 36. bJason  |  January 29, 2011 at 4:37 am

            I say that ALLL THE TIME!!! Too funny!

        • 37. Rhie  |  January 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm

          LOL! NICE!

        • 38. Sarah  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm

          Ahhh, Disney…. :) Nicely placed nightshade.

          • 39. Sarah  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm

            think I got autocorrected or something, I know I spelled your name right…

          • 40. nightshayde  |  January 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm

            Meh – what’s a silly little “y” between friends?

  • 41. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Video featuring Jerry Savoy and John Weiss, one of the families represented by GLAD in Pedersen v. O.P.M. This is another case challenging DOMA, section 3, but this time it is being brought by plaintiffs in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire. GLAD filed the complaint last November. You can see more on this case and Gill at:

    • 42. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 28, 2011 at 10:54 am

      What a beautiful family – you can see they are happy. They deserve all of the rights that any married couple receive. I wish them the best of luck in their suit and will follow it closely.

      Thanks for sharing Kathleen.

      • 43. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 31, 2011 at 6:26 am

        : D !!!

  • 44. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:02 am

    From Admiral Mullen’s office:

    Live at 2:15pm ET, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen James Cartwright speak with Pentagon reporters on the progress of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal implementation effort. Watch online at

    • 45. JonT  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

      Great! Your timing (and mine) are excellent. Just starting now.

    • 46. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Did Clifford Stanley just refer to the “scripture of DOMA”?

      • 47. anonygrl  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:46 am

        Watched for half an hour… they are talking in circles… no real new info other than that they expect to START this “training” with units in February. They reserve the right to not FINISH it until doomsday.

        Since they are not changing any benefits (which is another issue that must be addressed, I think) and are going to continue to abide by DOMA, it seems to me that this training could be accomplished by saying “Ladies and Gentlemen, prejudice against homosexuals will not be tolerated, in exactly the same way you were trained that prejudice against any race or religion will not be tolerated. Got it? Good.”


        • 48. Steve  |  January 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm

          They’ll change some minor benefits that don’t necessarily depend on marriage.

          Just not any of the really good ones like on-base housing, basic housing allowance or health care

      • 49. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:59 am

        new phrase being utilized by military: “gestalt of his package”

        • 50. JonT  |  January 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm

          Oh stop. :)

      • 51. JonT  |  January 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm

        Indeed he did. Seemed like he wanted to reword that, but then decided that would draw too much attention to it, so he just plowed on.


    • 52. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:42 am

      Clifford Stanley just said DOMA says feds only recognize “heterosexual” Not True!!! Only recognizes marriage btwn man and woman; either could be bi. These people need a major education.

      • 53. anonygrl  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

        THANK you.

  • 54. Sagesse  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Subbing to watch and read later.

  • 55. Straight Ally #3008  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I like how “family values” is code for “hate teh gheyz” even in the article above.

    • 56. JonT  |  January 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      Agreed. Perhaps something like ‘fundamentalist religious doctrine’ would be more appropriate.

      Certainly, in my view, bigotry and hate is not a family value.

  • 57. Ronnie  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Not only has Brainless Brian Brown Suit shown how completely stupid he is judging a movie without even seeing it….but look how publicly disrespectful he is about the FACT (not fantasy) of 2moms raising two kids together…..also with a hint of BIGOTED conjecture towards. surprise surprise, someone else’s religion that doesn’t fall lock-in-step with his…..

    Brian Brown: ‘I haven’t actually seen the film, but…’

    “Dear Marriage Supporter”……(me) Yeah not one person who follows NOM is a marriage supporter…..just saying…..

    “Breaking news in Hollywood: The Kids Are All Right has been nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture! Big surprise.”……..(me) What does this have to do with marriage?

    “The movie in case you haven’t heard, is about two lesbian moms raising a daughter and a son; the son misses having a Dad and goes out in search of their biological father. Hey, comedy ensues!”……..(me) 1st, notices he doesn’t capitalize “moms” but does capitalize “Dad”….typo?..pffft not…male CHAUVINIST pig!!!!……..2nd, cryBB, he didn’t “miss having a dad”, he wondered what his bio dad was like & at first didn’t connect w/the bio dad. The daughter didn’t want to find the bio dad but is the one who went looking for him because she was of legal age to do it.

    “I haven’t actually seen the film, but it’s pretty clear from the amusing plot summary (by British Jesuits!) why Hollywood is entranced with the fantasy about two moms raising two kids together:”……..(me) You haven’t seen the film, but feel you are qualified enough to criticize it…yeah ok….Why the exclamation point after “by British Jesuits”, cryBB?….careful, your bigotry is showing……Finally, the quintessential belittling, degrading, insulting, & demeaning of 2 moms raising 2 children together, which is a FACT, as nothing more the “fantasy”…….So Brian Brown who is attacking families?….Oh right, that would be you…..

    Lastly…notice how once again NOM is using a copyrighted poster, altering it, & then using it to spread their Fascist message of Bigoted filled HATE….Really NOM….the propaganda machine so skillfully (yet disgustingly) manufactured & utilized by Hitler & his ilk is certainly rolling out the presses over there….It goes without saying, but….GET A LIFE!!!!

    But it all comes back to this….WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MARRIAGE!!!!….I’ll tell you what…nothing…that’s what…NOM=FAIL!!!!…… : I …Ronnie

  • 58. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 28, 2011 at 11:35 am

    But, as stated above, there is still hope!

  • 59. Rhie  |  January 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks! I missed this!

  • 60. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    • 61. Sagesse  |  January 30, 2011 at 10:08 am

      This is a great ad. Just got around to watching.

  • 62. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  January 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    One more reason to not go to France…….

    • 63. Kate  |  January 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      And maybe time to boycott French products, too. (Remember when the right-wingers boycotted “Freedom Fries?” Maybe we could boycott for “Equality Fries.” Etc.

      • 64. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm

        The French as of late have certainly shown a great lack of compassion and caring for minorities….muslim women and now SS couples

        • 65. Kate  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm

          And the Romani people.

          • 66. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  January 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm

            Shame on me for forgetting them :-(

      • 67. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm

        If we do equality fries, does that mean we can use sweet potatoes and coat them in different colored seasonings? I know of many seasonings that would create a rainbow effect on sweet potatoes!

        • 68. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  January 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm


  • 70. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Brenda Namigadde deportation to Uganda halted at last minute. Now let’s hope she succeeds in her request for long-term asylum in UK

    • 71. Peterplumber  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      Just got this (from HRC) about that:

      U.S. pastors are exporting bigotry to Uganda, with brutal results.

      This is an issue close to my heart, because I’ve spent over a decade working for equality as a lay leader in my own church, and now, as acting director of HRC’s Religion and Faith program – which helps religious leaders of all stripes speak out for equality and fight back when hatred is promoted in the name of religion.

      On Thursday, that perversion of faith cost Ugandan gay rights advocate David Kato his life. He was bludgeoned to death in his home after his name was among those listed in an anti-gay magazine, under the headline “Hang them!”

      Since at least 2009, radical U.S. Christian missionaries have added anti-gay conferences and workshops in Uganda to their anti-gay efforts in the U.S. – and now they’re beginning to ordain ministers and build churches across East Africa focused almost entirely on preaching against homosexuality.

      These American extremists didn’t call for David’s death. But they created a climate of hate that breeds violence – and they must stop and acknowledge they were wrong.

      “Stop Exporting Hate.” Sign our petition to Carl Ellis Jenkins, Lou Engle, and Scott Lively.

      We’ll deliver your signature to three men who have gone out of their way to promote hatred:

      Scott Lively of Massachusetts held an anti-gay conference in Uganda with two other U.S. pastors. A few months later, a bill was introduced in Uganda that would make homosexuality punishable by death.
      Lou Engle, a Missouri preacher whose rallies draw tens of thousands in the U.S., spoke at a rally in Uganda this year that focused on praying for the bill’s passage. (Engle claims not to support some parts of the bill, but internal documents show he came to speak about “the threat of homosexuality,” and defend the Ugandan government’s efforts to “curb the growth of the vice using the law.”)
      And Carl Ellis Jenkins of Georgia is presiding over a group that’s opening 50 new churches in Uganda to “help clean up bad morals, including homosexuality” according to his staff.
      They have been stirring up hostility in a country where homosexuality is already illegal, violent attacks are common, rape is used to ‘cure’ people of their sexual orientation – and a shocking law has been proposed that would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or even death.

      And they’re in lockstep with some of the largest and wealthiest right-wing groups in the U.S. When the U.S. Congress considered a resolution denouncing the grotesque Ugandan death-penalty-for-gays bill, the extreme-right Family Research Council – now classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center – spent $25,000 lobbying to stop the resolution from passing.

      Religion should never be used to spread hate. These men do not speak for me or the millions of diverse religious people who support equality not in spite of our faith, but because of it

      That’s what our Religion and Faith program is all about: helping people of faith from all different traditions speak out so we can reclaim the core religious values we hold dear in America.

      At the heart of every religious tradition is love of humanity and love of creator – not hatred for our neighbors. Creating a climate of hate runs contrary to the very idea of faith – but that’s exactly what the right wing in America is doing.

      Tell missionaries and radical hate groups: “Stop exporting hate.”

      Whether or not we’re people of faith, we cannot stay silent or stand idly by while a radical minority pushes a hateful agenda in God’s name. Please stand with us and speak out today.


      Sharon Groves
      Religion and Faith Program

      • 72. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

        Yes, this is a long-standing problem with Uganda and the extreme right evangelicals in the US’s involvement there.

        Was this HRC’s reaction to the threat of deportation for Brenda Namigadde? I don’t see her mentioned in the email.

        For those who aren’t aware, this was a major world-wide effort to stop her deportation. She had actually been escorted to Heathrow in anticipation of her 9:40pm (GMT) flight back to Uganda. At the last minute, a judge issued an injunction.

        • 73. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

          Thank goodness for that.

      • 74. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm

        Thank you for posting this Peterplumber. I have only gotten home within the last half hour, and did not yet have the opportunity to open my copy of that email.

    • 75. Ann S.  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      Thank goodness for the reprieve.

    • 76. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      Thank you, Kathleen! You sure know how to bring on the happy tears, don’t you? So glad to know that Brenda Namigadde won’t have to go back to Uganda and risk being brutally murdered!

    • 77. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      Melanie Nathan at LGR has been intensely involved in the effort to save Brenda. Hats off to her for all the hard work!

    • 78. JonT  |  January 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      That’s great news.

      That’s one of the things this Uganda bill would stipulate – LGBT Ugandans could be extradited back to Uganda to stand trial for being gay.

      Thank Lively, Engle and ‘The Family’ for that travesty of a bill.


  • 79. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    UPDATE in LCR v USA (DADT case)

    ORDER – Motion to hold appeals in abeyance is denied. Briefing schedule reset with government opening brief now due February 25, 2011

    • 80. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      For those of us who are legal illiterate – what does that mean?

      • 81. Ann S.  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm

        The DOJ tried to get things put on hold while the repeal was implemented, and the judge said NO. Since they’re proceeding, a schedule has been set for briefs.

        Disclaimer: I didn’t read the order yet, I’m getting this from reading Kathleen’s post.

        • 82. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

          Thanks – you both rock my world!

          So this is a good thing…

          • 83. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm

            Yes. This is a good thing.

      • 84. Kathleen  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm

        The government wanted the appeal to be put on hold because Congress had voted to repeal DADT. Plaintiffs (Log Cabin Republicans) objected, saying that the repeal has not actually happened and there is no deadline for its repeal and that as long as soldiers are still subject to discharge the case needs to move forward.

        At first, the Court issued a temporary stay while it reviewed the government’s motion (the original schedule had the gov’s opening brief due Jan 24). This is the final order on the motion, denying the government’s request and saying that the case has to proceed. Now the gov’s brief is due Feb 25.

        • 85. Peterplumber  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm

          Yay! No Stay!!

    • 86. Sagesse  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

      Exactly as it should be.


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