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France

French court upholds ban on gay marriage

media Homosexual couples in France will have to hope politicians move to change legislation on gay marriage AFP

The French constitutional court on Friday upheld a ban on gay marriage but noted that it was up to politicians to decide if the legislation should be changed. The matter was referred to the court after a lesbian couple with four children sought to marry after spending 10 years in a civil union.

The court ruled that two articles in the French civil code that state that marriage can only be between a man and a woman were constitutional.

But in reference to whether gay couples were being discriminated against because the law treated them differently to heterosexual couples, it said "it is not up to the constitutional court to substitute its assessment for that of legislators."

The lesbian couple enjoy tax benefits and other financial advantages because they are in a legally-recognised civil partnership but they feel they should be entitled to the further benefits that marriage would bring.

A recent opinion poll showed that 58 per cent of French people are in favour of gay marriage, which is legal in European countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

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