French church official welcomes court ruling

OXFORD, England – A French church official welcomed a Paris superior court ruling that a gay rights group pay symbolic damages to the church after the group staged a lesbian mock wedding in Notre Dame Cathedral.

The “provocative action” had “hurt many people, believers or not, from all denominations both in and outside France,” Michel-Francois Szczepka, spokesman for the cathedral, told Catholic News Service May 2.

Judge Jacques Bichard said the 2005 mock wedding had threatened religious freedoms protected under the French Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.

The court ruled April 27 that the cathedral’s rector, Monsignor Patrick Jacquin, would be awarded his requested symbolic compensation of 1 euro (US$1.30) as well as 2,000 euros (US$2,718) in court costs.

At least 20 members of the gay rights group Act Up-Paris staged the spoof marriage between two women in the 12th-century Gothic cathedral.

Monsignor Jacquin received first aid after being kicked and punched when he tried to stop the event, which was led by a man dressed as a priest.

Jerome Martin, head of Act Up-Paris, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that his aim had been to “urge Catholics to reject the Vatican’s retrograde teaching on homosexuality and condoms.”

Martin added that protesters, who held up placards calling the pope a “homophobe and AIDS accomplice,” had reacted only when cathedral guards attempted to remove one of their banners.

In March, the French Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage unlawful.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.