French court: absence of virginity has no repercussion on matrimonial life
The marriage was annulled earlier this year when a court held that the woman had lied over what is called in French law an “essential quality,” in this case her virginity. It ruled that the marriage contract was therefore invalid.
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The case sparked outrage in both feminists and human rights activists, who were shocked that a court could consider virginity an “essential quality.” Some politicians also expressed concern that conservative Muslim values were creeping into French law.
Following the public uproar, the government ordered an appeal. The court in Douai ruled that virginity “is not an essential quality in that its absence has no repercussion on matrimonial life.”
It also rejected the argument that by lying about her past love life, the wife had destroyed the mutual confidence needed in a marriage and that this was in itself grounds for annulment.
The ruling Monday means that the marriage, which neither husband nor wife wished to continue, stands. After initially resisting the annulment, the woman consented and the marriage was annulled in April.