A case of double-edged sword
Patrick Seale; 19/6/08
In July 8, 2006, a marriage was celebrated in France between two young Muslims, an engineer in his early 30s and a student nurse 10 years younger. She had assured him she was a virgin, a condition he had insisted on for the marriage to take place. When he discovered on their wedding night that she was not what she claimed to be, he stormed out of the bedroom while their wedding party was still in progress, and returned his wife to her parents’ house. He then went to court, seeking an annulment. He did so under Article 180 of France’s Napoleonic civil code, according to which a marriage can be nullified once it is demonstrated that there was an error in the “essential qualities” of one of the parties. The law, however, does not define what these “essential qualities” are. The husband maintained that virginity was one of them.