The Bastille of virginity in France has not yet fallen


The recent decision taken by a French court in Lille, to annul the marriage of a young couple because the husband claimed his newlywed partner had deceived him about her virginity, deserves close legal scrutiny.

The court justified the decision to annul the marriage based on the husband’s claim he had entered into the agreement under fundamentally false grounds.

For a modern sectarian republic such as France, the court ruling may be interpreted as a dangerous step back in time for the country because it represents a return to the freewheeling subjective style of rule that flourished under the auspices of its previous judicial system.
Within this antiquated system, the judge’s jurisdiction and power is near absolute and he is therefore at liberty to find legal models that do not exist in the legislation , criminalising what is not criminalised by the law.

This ruling is reminiscent of a time when, in cases such as this one, the judges in France would use their wide ranging powers to pass judgements arbitrarily with little regard for consistency or legal accuracy.

In the mid 18th century, the judiciary reached the height of its indiscretion during the tragic case of the peasant Jean Calas whom Voltaire defended vehemently in his “Treatise on Tolerance on the occasion of the death of Jean Calas.” [Calas, a Protestant, was convicted of killing his son on scant evidence and sentenced to death.]

The court ruling issued in Lille does not merely display errors in the legal and judicial process , it also signifies a fall in ethical standards.

Marriage is indeed a contract, but it is one of a special nature. It is a contract in the sense that it is bound by certain conditions and is based upon ‘pillars’ or principles that the husband and wife must abide by.

The French judge made the mistake of regarding a marriage contract between two people to be similar to a contract of exchange based upon each party satisfying the other’s expectations. In this case the subject or “goods” being exchanged was the female body. The judge considered the state of a woman’s hymen to be part of the contract and therefore because it was not intact it was used as evidence of deception about the quality of the “goods” thereby justifying the annulment of the marriage contract.

In other words, the husband like a “customer”, felt he had been deceived because the “vendor”, in this case the woman ,had misled him about the quality of the “goods”.
A woman’s hymen is merely a physical body part. A marriage contract however is built upon sharing and choosing a spouse and life partner- it is not the one sided purchase of a woman’s body with a guarantee of all parts included intact.

In this case the terms of a sales contract were applied to a marriage contract, despite the fact that as a shared contract ,marriage demands equality on both sides.

In taking his decision the judge did not differentiate between a marriage contract and a contract drawn up for the purchase of a car, property, or any other material item.

In a modern European republic such as France, the state of a women’s hymen cannot under any circumstances be considered as a sacred pillar of marriage, or a binding condition whose rupture justifies the break up of that marriage.

From a legal point of view, annulment should only come about as a result of an action carried out or a duty unfulfilled and must not consist of a physical feature, a component of one’s body, an element of one’s being or their personal nature.

This ruling only serves to undermine all the advances and breakthroughs that legal thought and philosophical law have achieved since the Renaissance.

Had a French woman married to a Muslim man gone to the same court stating that after the marriage she discovered her husband had been circumcised conflicting with his claim to the contrary during their engagement. – would the court rule in favour of an annulment in this case ? Would the court then consider the wife had been cheated with damaged “goods” – in this case the male physical body?

And how would this court rule,for example, in the case of an employer who wanted to dismiss an employee and terminate his working contract because he had claimed he was a Christian on his application form but was later revealed to be a Muslim ?

Are these the terms by which a contract is to be measured and terminated?

The prosecution in the Lille case asserted that the husband entered the marriage bond under false grounds and supported this argument by referring to a previous case which had appeared before the French courts in which a marriage contract was ended after the wife discovered her husband had a previous criminal conviction and had served time in prison.

The difference in this case is that the deception was over his imprisonment which itself was the result of an action punishable by law. His criminal act did not involve a personal trait, or any inherent aspect of his physical attributes.

According to these guidelines in order to have reasonable grounds to annul the marriage, the French Parliament -in the guise of a Sharia law court- would need to issue a law criminalising a woman who loses her virginity outside of marriage. The ruling in this judgement plunges the legal and moral system in France into a desperate state.

If such outrageous mistakes continue it would appear to be the case that French law is not applied equally to all French citizens and instead judgements are made on the basis of religion, sex and even race. Such judgement jeopardises the idea of nationality and defies the principle that the law of the land must be applied to all the nation’s citizens without discriminating between them. It is in this conclusion that we begin to see racism rear its ugly head.

This event is not the first of its kind in France. It is worth noting that the French state routinely discriminates between its citizens. For example, it often turns a blind eye legally to Muslims who marry more than one woman, even though the punishment for polygamy for a Frenchman of European origin is harsh.

If this violation of laws should continue in France , Europe will be in dire need of further enlightenment , indeed it seems the Age of Enlightenment has not yet drawn to a close.

Comments are closed.


Discover more from Middle East Transparent

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading