French Court Announces that Lie About Virginity Should Not Annul Marriage

French state prosecutors argued on Monday that a court decision to annul a Muslim couple’s marriage because the woman lied about her virginity is discriminatory against women and should be overturned. A court in Douai annulled the 2006 marriage in April 2008 because the husband discovered on their wedding night that the wife had lied about her virginity. The lower court based its decision on an article of the French Civil Code that states that a spouse can seek an annulment if the partner has misrepresented his or her “essential qualities.” The decision made no reference to Islam.
Eric Vaillant, a spokesperson for the Douai appeals court has responded that making a woman’s virginity a condition of marriage “would be discriminatory because it would harm the principles of equality between men and women.” State prosecutors said they were not against allowing the split if it were possible to replace the “discriminatory motive” of loss of virginity with a more general one, such as mistaken identity. A verdict in the appeals case is expected on 17 November 2008.

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International Herald Tribune

Islam Pluriel

The National Post

French Court Blocks Decision to Annul Marriage Over Virginity

A French appeals court has blocked the decision of a lower court to annul a marriage because the bride was not a virgin, as she had claimed prior to the marriage. The marriage will thus remain legal until September 22, when the same court will hear arguments. Article 180 of the Civil Code defines the possibility of annulment if one of the parties has misrepresented the essential qualities of themselves, without defining them. A poll released by Le Figaro claimed that 73% of the French who responded were shocked by the original ruling. The poll involved 968 people; no margin of error was included.