French court to examine legality of same-sex marriage ban
France's highest court of appeal, the Court of Cassation, on Tuesday asked the Constitutional Council to rule on whether gay marriage should remain illegal.
The request came after individuals in August asked a court in the northeastern city of Reims to look at the legality of articles of the civil code, France's law book, which ban same-sex marriages.
The unnamed individuals said the articles were unconstitutional because they "limit the personal freedom of a French citizen to marry someone of the same sex".
The Court of Cassation said that gay marriage "is today the subject of a broad debate within society, notably because of the evolution of morals and the recognition of same-sex marriages by the laws of several foreign countries".
The Constitutional Court will now have to rule on the articles' legality.
Lawyer Caroline Mecary, who has dealt with several cases involving homosexual partnerships, welcomed the move.
"This decision by the Court of Cassation is good news for the three million lesbians and gays who cannot get married," she said.
"Soon perhaps France will respect the principle of equality by opening marriage up to people of the same sex, as eight European countries have already done," she said.
In Europe, same-sex marriages are possible to different degrees in Belgium, Britain, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.
© 2010 AFP