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French Judge Agrees to Annul Marriage Because Woman Not a Virgin

A French judge agreed to a man’s request to have his marriage annulled because his wife was not a virgin. According to BBC News, the court ruled that her previous claim of virginity was essential to his decision to marry her, and once he discovered that she was not a virgin, he was justified in asking the court for an annulment. According to the Associated Press the decision was made in April, but only became public this week.

Reuters reports that both the man and woman in this case are Muslim and that there has been a public outcry against this decision as well as fear that religious beliefs are seeping into French courts. The French Urban Affairs Minister, Fadela Amara, told the Associated Press that this “is a real fatwa against the emancipation and liberty of women.” President Sarkozy’s governing party (UMP) has officially denounced the ruling, according to Reuters.

According to the Associated Press, critics condemned the case because it treats women as commodities that may be discarded for so-called “hidden defects.”

Sources:

Associated Press 6/4/2008, BBC 6/4/2008, Reuters 6/4/2008