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France: Judges reject same-sex marriage human rights complaint

Human rights judges have rejected a same-sex marriage human rights complaint against France.

Their ruling in the case Chapin and Charpentier v. France (no. 40183/07), was made yesterday (9 June).

The applicants, Stéphane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier, are French nationals who were born in 1970 and 1973 and live in Plassac (France).

In May 2004, Chapin and Charpentier submitted a marriage application to the civil registry department of Bègles municipal council. The municipal civil registrar published the banns of marriage.

The public prosecutor at the Bordeaux tribunal de grande instance served notice of his objection to the marriage on the Bègles municipal civil registrar and on Chapin and Charpentier. Despite the objection, the mayor of Bègles performed the marriage ceremony and made an entry to that effect in the register of births, marriages and deaths.

On 22 June 2004, the public prosecutor brought proceedings against Chapin and Charpentier in the Bordeaux tribunal de grande instance, seeking to have the marriage annulled.

On 27 July 2004, the court annulled the applicants’ marriage and ordered its judgment to be recorded in the margin of their birth certificates and the marriage certificate. The Bordeaux Court of Appeal upheld the judgment.

Chapin and Charpentier appealed on points of law to the Court of Cassation, which on 13 March 2007 dismissed their appeal.

Relying on Article 12 (right to marry) taken together with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination), Chapin and Charpentier submitted that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples amounted to a discriminatory infringement of the right to marry.

Relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) taken together with Article 14, they contended that they had been discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation.

No violation of Article 12 taken together with Article 14
No violation of Article 8 taken together with Article 14

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