Legislation in France for Same Sex Marriage
France is now the 14th country to legalise same sex marriages after New Zealand.
It is also the ninth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage after legalisation in the traditionally liberal Netherlands and Scandinavia, but also in strongly Catholic Portugal and Spain. Legislation is also moving through the UK Parliament.
" Love yourselves, let's love ourselves, because it's important "
Vincent Autin, Gay rights activist
All marriages must be performed by a French civil authority before any religious ceremony takes place. Traditionally the mayor can authorise a city councillor to perform the ceremony in the French town in which one of the parties to be married has been residing for 40 days minimum prior to the marriage. These requirements cannot be waived.
Alternatively, most couples hold the civil service in their country of residence prior to arriving at their chosen Venue in France. They can then hold a blessing ceremony in the grounds of the Venue itself or a church nearby.
A full wedding service is possible in France by first taking care of the legal side in your own country of residence. This is something you can do with your wedding planner or with the help of your chosen Venue.
The British Embassy Consular Section cannot give authoritative advice on the formalities that a British person must complete in order to marry under French law. Such advice must be obtained from the local mairie (town hall) where the marriage is to take place. The following points are intended as a supplement to information received from the mairie.
1. A French civil authority (mairie, adjoint, or conseiller municipal) performs the civil ceremony in the town in which one of the parties to be married has resided for at least (40) days immediately preceding the marriage.
2. Publication of the banns in the town hall (mairie) where marriage will take place is compulsory in France. Most mairies take approximately 4–6 weeks to process an application. Requirements will vary for each mairie, therefore, it is essential that you first meet with them in order to determine their exact documentary requirements and terms of validity (documents may need to be issued less than 3 months prior to date of marriage or publication of banns). Please note that some Mairies may require you to have these certificates translated into French by a sworn in translator so allow more time for this if required.
A marriage performed in France under French law is recognised in the UK.
We recommend Celebrants in France who may be able to offer you some more information and below we have a link to the French Association for Mairies Across France.