court_tells_french_mayors_they_cannot_refuse_gay_marriagesFrance’s mayors have been told by that country’s highest court that they cannot opt out of marrying same-sex couples.

In June, Jean-Michel Colo, the mayor of the town of Arcangues, refused to marry a gay couple after rejecting France’s marriage equality law as “illegitimate”.

Other mayors in France also refused to accept the law and filed an appeal with the Constitutional Council, asserting their right to “freedom of conscience” when it came to officiating gay and lesbian marriages.

On Friday, however, the Council rejected their argument and said that their personal beliefs were not grounds for them to not do their jobs as public servants.

The Constitutional Council affirmed the “neutrality” of public service under the law.

“Freedom of conscience is not violated by officiating at weddings,” it ruled.

In May, amidst a wave of massive anti-gay protests, France became the ninth European country and the 14th in the world to legalise marriage equality for all of its citizens.

The law, which also legalised adoption by gay couples, has divided France and radicalised the right wing.

LGBT rights groups and police documented a dramatic spike in hate crime attacks against gay people in the country this year.

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