.- After the mayor of a small town in France announced he would officiate at the country’s first homosexual wedding, French president Jacques Chirac said “marriages” between people of the same sex are illegal in France, and he called for sanctions against those who would perform them.
Referring to the comments made by Green Party member and mayor of Bègles, Noël Mamère, Chirac declared that, “The law does not permit marriage between two men or two women. If hypothetically some believe they have the right to perform them, naturally they should be sanctioned.”
Chirac indicated that France’s civil unions law, which allows for homosexual unions, resolves “the problems regarding human rights,” although, he added, “experience shows that this law has not provided all of the guarantees and solutions to potential problems in this area.”
Therefore, Chirac said he was “in favor, on the basis of respect for human rights, of making the necessary changes to existing law, not because it is bad but because it is insufficient.”
But beyond reform of the civil unions law, Chirac said, “There is a law and a tradition clearly affirmed in the Civil Code and which does not permit marriages between two men or two women.” He said he was doubtful of the existence of “a large majority of the public that questions a law of this nature.”
Likewise, Primer Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said, “There is a large consensus in favor of maintaining the current concept of marriage.”