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Le Figaro's series of essays on French identity has revealed that everyone believes it is in crisis. Gay marriage is just the latest trigger for impassioned debate

By Tim King   August 2004

In early June, the mayor of B?es, a suburb of Bordeaux, conducted the wedding of two men. In France, a mayor is the only person who has the right to marry people, but this mayor had been warned by the prime minister and the public prosecutor that marrying two people of the same sex is illegal. He defied them, unleashing an impassioned debate which dominated the front pages at a time when the transfer of power in Iraq or even the adoption of a European constitution might have been considered more important. The debate is another expression of the current…

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