A court's decision to annul a marriage because the bride lied about being a virgin has the French worried that their secular values are under siege by religious immigrants.
The case involved a Muslim couple. Under their strict religious tradition, a woman must prove virginity on her wedding night. The court ruled that since the couple was Muslim, virginity was a prerequisite to the marriage. Thus, her misrepresentation of the requirement made the marriage invalid.
Women's rights activists say that the ruling treats women as a defected good in a commercial transaction. In addition, France's champions of secularism, who have worked to resist the religious influence of some 5 million Muslims that help make up France's population of 64 million, are outraged.
Their interpretation of secularism often leans towards forced secularism. To see how, read more.
France could be a secular state if it allowed its citizens to marry and divorce according to their own religious values. Instead, the French brand of secularism prefers no religious expression, to freedom of all religious expression — see France's ban of headscarves and other religious symbols from classrooms as an example.
It appears that once again, the French are the mirror image of their American counterparts, many of whom worry that the country's religious roots are being attacked. Do you think religious requirements should be left out of a state marriage proceeding? Or was the court correct to release the man from his contract, since he thought he was marrying a virgin?