A court in Chambery, France, ruled Friday that a Ministry of Justice [official website, in French] circular [text, PDF, in French], which stipulated that some foreign nationals would not be able to take advantage of France's same-sex marriage laws, is incorrect. The circular explained that France's bilateral agreement with 11 countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage prohibited French civil registrars [RFI report] from performing marriages between same-sex couples where one party was a national of one of those countries. The court ruled that the text of France's same-sex marriage law [text, in French] contradicts and supersedes [RFI report] the circular because Article 202-1 of the law provides that two people of the same sex can marry when at least one of them is domiciled in a country which permits same-sex marriage, and Article 202-2 further states that "the marriage is valid if it has been celebrated in accordance with the formalities required by the law of the State in which the celebration took place." Because of the wording of the French same-sex marriage law, the court has ruled that as long as at least one person in the couple is a French domiciliary, the couple can marry in France regardless of the nationality of his or her partner.
In spite of France's recent legalization of same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder], there are still a number of issues to be resolved regarding its implementation, particularly in the area of conflicts of law [JURIST op-ed]. French President Francois Hollande [official website, in French] gave final approval [JURIST report] in May to the legislation legalizing same-sex marriage and establishing the right of same-sex couples to adopt. Although France's Union for a Popular Movement party challenged the law, France's Constitutional Court [official website, in French] rejected the challenge [JURIST report] in May. France's Parliament gave final approval of the legislation [JURIST report] in April.