FRENCH COURT ANNULS MUSLIM MARRIAGE DUE TO HUSBAND'S CLAIM THAT WIFE WAS NOT A VIRGIN
Excerpts from (Reuters) - "France plunged into a heated debate about its marriage laws on Friday after learning that a court had annulled the union of two Muslims because the husband said the wife was not the virgin she had claimed to be."
"The hoodwinked husband's lawyer responded just as forcibly that civil marriage was a legal contract. The court invalidated this one because the wife had lied about what French law calls an "essential quality" of a contracting party, he said.
"Concerns about traditional Muslim views creeping into secular French law hung over the debate, but the strictly legal basis of the verdict forced critics to ask how two principles -- contract fraud and sexual equality -- could be reconciled.
"It is profoundly shocking that, in our country, a marriage can be annulled on the basis of non-virginity before the marriage," Frederic Lefebvre, spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy's governing UMP party, said in a statement.
"Prominent feminist Elisabeth Badinter said the courts should defend Muslim women, not pressure them. "The end result will be that some Muslim girls will rush to hospitals to have their hymens sewn back together again," she told France Inter radio."