Key legal aspects of same-sex marriage in France

11 years ago
Key legal aspects of same-sex marriage in France

How does it affect French nationals residing abroad and foreigners?

With the law of May 17th, 2013, opening marriage to same-sex couples: To have the French citizenship or to live in France, allow a same-sex couple to get married in France.

EXCEPTION: If France has signed bilateral agreements setting out that the personal law [1] is applicable to substantive conditions of marriage. Bilateral agreements overrule national legislation ; hence the impossiblity to get married for same-sex couple when at least one of the partner is a national of the following countries: Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Cambodia, Laos, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco.

Is same sex marriage celebrated in France recognized overseas?

It is recognized in countries with the same legislation as France: Belgium, Spain, Canada, some states of the USA, some states of Brazil, Netherlands, Sweden, New-Zealand, South Africa, Mexico DF, Argentina, Norvway, Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, England, Wales and Uruguay.

In other countries, it is not recognized and the spouses will be advised by the registrar officer of the potential risks faced in their countries of origin.

Where can the wedding be celebrated?

  • At least one of the spouse lives in France :
    • in the commune where one of the spouse has had his/her continued residence since at least a month
    • in the commune of residence of one of the spouse’s father or mother
  • For spouses living overseas. French consular authorities are not entitled to celebrate a marriage between a French citizen and a foreigner, and the mariage can only be celebrated in France:
    • in the commune of birth or the commune of last residence of one of the spouses
    • in the commune of residence of one of the spouse’s father or mother
    • or failing that, in the Fernch commune of their choice

What about same sex marriage celebrated overseas before the French law entered into force?

Previously, same-sex couples married abroad where considered as single in France.

The 2013 law has foreseen a provision that recognizes those marriages and allow their transcripts by consular registrar officers.


[1] The personal law of a private person is the law of his / her nationality (in civil law systems).

Share the article

And more...