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Jean Michel Colo

Jean-Michel Colo is the mayor of Arcangues. (Photo credit: Echo Republican)

By Barton Gingerich (@bjgingerich)

After the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in France, one mayor is refusing to comply. Jean-Michel Colo of Arcangues rejected an application for marriage from a gay couple in his village. Guy Martineau-Espel and Jean-Michel Martin tried to compromise with the major, taking vows outside the traditional marriage hall. Nevertheless, the Arcangues mayor still refused. “When people close the door at home, they do what they want. For me, marriage is for a woman and man to have children. I am not discriminating as a same-sex couple is sterile. It’s a parody of equality, it’s a big lie,” he reasoned.

The couple plans to press charges against Colo and his application of the new law. He faces stiff penalties if found guilty of discrimination: up to five years jail time and a 75,000 euro fine (about $99,000). When the legislation was being formed, many mayors called for conscience clause protection for objectors in townships and other local communities. These amendment measures failed. In light of the Arcangues case, Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls threatened, “The elects who do not respect the laws of the republic will risk significant sanctions.”

Colo responded in typically French fashion, “I will go to the gallows.”