virgin annulment, hymen reconstruction, namus
Demonstrators hold a banner showing the slogan "Equal rights for women and men" during a demonstration in Nice on Saturday, after a French court annuled a Muslim marriage because the wife was not a virgin. (AP)

Appeals Court Overrules Annulment Based on Virginity

November 18, 2008 01:26 PM
by Emily Coakley
A French court has overturned a couple’s annulment, which was sought after the groom discovered his bride was not a virgin.

Marriage Ended Quickly

In 2006, a Muslim man and woman were married in a civil ceremony in northern France. The man then discovered that his new wife wasn’t a virgin, as she had claimed before the wedding. The woman admitted it and agreed to an annulment. That annulment was granted in April, causing a backlash in France, according to Agence France-Presse.

France’s Minister of Justice ordered an appeals court to consider the matter, and on Monday the annulment was overturned.

“This ruling is very worrying,” Xavier Labbee, the groom’s lawyer, told AFP. “Our individual liberties are seriously threatened.”

According to the BBC, the April annulment caused outrage for feminist and religious reasons.

“Feminists argued the decision was unfair because a woman would not be able to cancel her marriage if she thought her husband was not a virgin.”
Some called the annulment “a ruling handed down in Kandahar” and “a real fatwa against the emancipation of women,” the BBC said.

Others wondered whether an annulment for that reason would have been granted if the parties weren’t Muslim.

The French court that granted the annulment said it wasn’t about being Muslim or being a virgin. The decision centered on lying. The law allows a marriage to be dissolved if one in the relationship has “lied about an ‘essential quality’ of the relationship,” according to the BBC.

Related Topic: Hymen reconstruction

According to findingDulcinea, some women are turning to surgery due to cultural pressure to be virgins on their wedding nights. As one woman who was about to undergo the procedure told The New York Times earlier this year, “In my culture, not to be a virgin is to be dirt.”

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