By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

PARIS, November 17, 2010 ( – France’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, has accepted a constitutional challenge to the nation’s marriage legislation, which follows the natural definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The challengers, a pair of lesbians, claim that the existing civil code “limits the individual liberty of a French citizen to contract marriage with a person of the same sex.”

The Court of Cassation accepted the case from a lower court on Tuesday, calling the issue “new” and “serious,” and observing that the issue is “the object of a great debate within society, notably due to the evolution of customs and of the recognition of marriage between people of the same sex, in the legislation of various foreign countries.”

Although France created “civil solidarity pacts” for homosexuals in 1999 in a controversial parliamentary vote, it has not followed the fad of redefining marriage to include same sex couples, one that is currently raging in the Germanic north and the socialist-dominated Iberian peninsula. If same-sex “marriage” is declared a constitutional right by the court, homosexuals will also have access to children through adoption.

However, even advocates of homosexual “marriage” admit that the suit is unlikely to succeed following an October decision by the Court of Cassation to defer the issue of homosexual adoption to the legislative branch of government, regarding the issue as outside its sphere of competence.

Despite the odds against them, French homosexualists are celebrating that the issue has received recognition from the nation’s highest court.

The decision, says Philippe Rollandin of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents and Future Parents, is “a new blow against the legislative fortress that discriminates against homosexuality.” The Collective Against Homophobia calls it an “additional step down the road to equal rights.”