Meet Mayor Jean-Michel Colo, the Anti-Gavin Newsom

In the wake of the DOMA and Prop 8 Supreme Court decisions, we are reminded that maybe the political right in the United States doesn’t have a monopoly on anti-gay behavior.

Meet Jean-Michel Colo, mayor of the French commune of Arcangues. He’s taking the bold, principled stance of…denying a gay couple the right to be married.

Wait. This is France, right? Like, the one in Europe? Aren’t they supposed to be more open-minded when it comes to stuff like this? I guess that’ll teach me to paint Europeans with a broad brush.

Anyway, back in April, France became the 14th nation to legalize the marriages of same-sex couples, and the very first of those marriages was performed on May 29. It was a major campaign promise by French president Francois Hollande. There were major protests backed by – surprise, surprise! – the Catholic Church, but in the end justice won. However, that doesn’t keep some particularly entrenched people – like Colo – from dragging their feet.

Colo is the first elected official in France to refuse to marry a gay couple. He could face up to five years in prison and a $98,000 fine for refusing to marry Jean-Michel Martin and Guy Martineau-Espel. According to Martin, he and Martineau-Espel didn’t want to cause a stir. In an effort to respect Colo’s beliefs – which, I might add, is more than Colo is willing to do in his capacity as an elected official – Martin and Martineau-Espel tried to offer a compromise. According to Raw Story:

“Our initial aim was to create the least waves possible, without any publicity or media presence,” Martin said.

“To respect his beliefs, we even told him that we were ready to get married not in the town hall but in our home in the presence of a magistrate but he refused this too.”

For his part, Colo was kind of a jerk who basically would rather die than marry two men.

Defending his stand, Colo said earlier: “For me, marriage is for a woman and man to have children. I am not discriminating as a same-sex couple is sterile. It’s a parody of equality, it’s a big lie.”

“I will go to the gallows” rather than back down, Colo said.

Oooooh OK. So if a straight couple is sterile he probably wouldn’t approve of their marriage. It’s all OK, then. Stay classy.

The French Interior Minister has warned Colo that he could face “significant sanctions” and that public officials who refuse to respect the law are guilty of discrimination and might get up to three years in prison and be called to pay 45,000 euros in damages.

And so the lawsuit goes forward. Hopefully Martin and Martineau-Espel with find justice.


Image credit: Flickr


Allan Yorkowitz
.4 years ago

Before you run for public office, it is good to know the laws of your country...idiot.

Mary L.
Mary L4 years ago

I thought they used a guillotine in France? Off with his head!

Mary B.
Mary B4 years ago

Well then, off to the gallows with him! Does he really think anybody admires his sacrafice for a belief system?

Annemarie S.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you for the article.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago


Tim Rose
Tim Rose4 years ago

unreal!!- how does THIS GUY get elected to run a city

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G4 years ago


pam w.
pam w4 years ago

Jerks are everywhere!

Cathleen K.
Cathleen K4 years ago

This is all very silly. Presumably, Monsieur Colo was elected prior to the legalization of same sex marriage. His duties as mayor now include a task he is unwilling to do. Don't jail him; fire his ass, assign a place holder and schedule a new election.

And for those of you who were shocked by all the protests in France, it's a big country (for Europe), with a wide variety of local cultures. When we think of French people, we think of Parisiens, but when you get outside of Paris, the people get a lot less sophisticated, a lot friendlier and a lot more religious. 'Provincial' means parochial, hick, for a reason!

BMutiny TCorporationsEvil

When Washington State voters voted for Gay Marriage, the first day it became legal, 136 JOYOUS Same-sex couples were married in Seattle's City Hall. {Others were married at various churches and in various places around the State.}
Some religious bigots tried to tell city clerks that they "could give religious reasons and avoid doing this."
Instead, NO City Officials rejected marrying Same-sex couples; it became a JOYOUS OCCASION for the City Officials also! There were beautiful, tasteful decorations set up in Seattle's City Hall just for the occasion; there were three sites in City Hall performing marriages to accommodate all!
So many happy families, many with kids, both inside and outside City Hall, and cars going by honking horns in support also!
Bigotry didn't raise its ugly head, but slunk away silenced, in Seattle at least...