FRANCE, January 18, 2011 ( – France’s Constitutional Council, its highest court for constitutional issues, has agreed to examine homosexual “marriage,” and is expected to render a verdict within a week.

The case has been passed to the Council by the French Court of Cassation, the nation’s highest appeals court for non-constitutional legal issues, which received the case in November. Two lesbians, who have conceived children by artificial insemination, want to call their relationship a “marriage,” and are asking for the legal right to do so.

The couple’s attorney recently told the Le Figaro newspaper that, given the resistance in France to equating homosexual relations with marriage, he is using a more “subtle” approach. “It’s not a matter of asking the Constitutional Council if it will make a pronouncement for or against homosexual marriage. It’s necessary to be more subtle,” said lawyer Emmanuel Ludot.

The first question Ludot is asking the judiciary to decide is whether “the judge, guarantor of individual liberties and notably the liberty to contract, has the power to authorize or not the marriage of two responsible adults,” and the second is if “France is not violating the International Convention on the Rights of Man that assures everyone of the right to marry and establish a family.”

The French judiciary is seen as hesitant to decide on such matters, and few in France believe that the couple is likely to achieve their goal of establishing homosexual “marriage.” Last year, the Court of Cassation demurred from deciding on the issue of homosexual adoption, instead passing it to the Parliament. However, French homosexuals reportedly regard the very acceptance of the recent case as a victory in itself.

While France does not recognize homosexual “marriage” or adoption as a right, it long ago instituted “Civil Solidarity Pacts” that allow couples of any sex to obtain many of the same legal benefits of marriage, under an agreement that can be dissolved with nothing more than a registered letter.  As the institution of marriage declines in France, many heterosexual couples are availing themselves of the opportunity to make such agreements.