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French court rules mayors cannot block same-sex marriage

By Pierre Meilhan and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
October 20, 2013 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau were the first same-sex couple to marry in France in May 2013.
Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau were the first same-sex couple to marry in France in May 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • France's top court says mayors cannot block gay marriages based on their personal beliefs
  • A group of seven mayors had filed an appeal with the Constitutional Council last month
  • The law was approved this year by France's parliament and signed off by the president
  • A growing number of countries around the world now allow same-sex marriage

(CNN) -- France's top court ruled Friday that French mayors cannot refuse to officiate same-sex marriages based on their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

The Constitutional Council ruled that the same-sex marriage law does not infringe on the mayors' "freedom of conscience" and therefore should be applied.

A group of seven mayors had filed an appeal with the Constitutional Council on September 18 stating their opposition to conducting same-sex marriage.

A bill allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt was passed earlier this year by the French parliament and signed into law by President Francois Hollande.

A growing number of countries around the world now allow same-sex marriage, the majority of them in Europe.

The Netherlands was the first, in 2001, and it was later joined by Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark and France. A bill to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales is also now law, though it isn't expected to come into force until 2014.

Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa are the non-European countries in the group, according to the Pew Research Center.

Same-sex marriage is also legal in some parts of Mexico and the United States.

French same-sex couple: Why we tied the knot

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