French court rules it’s OK to ‘publicly promote infidelity’

A French court has ruled that an extra-marital affairs dating website has the right to advertise its services and ruled that couples are not bound by the country’s civil code to be faithful to each other.

French court rules it's OK to 'publicly promote infidelity'
Photo: AFP

The row began back in the winter of 2015 when a French Catholics association sued Black Devine, the publishers for extra-marital affairs dating site Gleeden, over some provocative adverts that promoted its services to those willing to cheat on their partners.

“Contrary to anti-depressants a lover costs the social security system nothing,” read one of the bus stop adverts for Gleeden. 

“Being faithful to two men means you are twice as faithful,” read another advert placed at bus stops and Metro stations, and banned by the offended mayors of some towns in France.

“Fancy adultery. It’s your turn to play,” reads a line on the site’s web page, giving a flavour of the kind of provocative advertising that so-riled the Catholic association.

“We even found lists giving tips on how to cheat on your partner without being found out,” the association's lawyer Henri de Beauregard said.

The Paris-based Associations of Catholic Families group filed the complaint, “challenging the legality of the site and its advertisements.”

Adultery has not been a crime in France since 1975 but the association said the adverts were “publicly promoting infidelity and cheating” and a clear incitement to disrespect the French civil code, which covers marriage, and stipulates “mutual respect, fidelity, help and assistance between spouses.”

But the court in Paris threw out their complaint and ruled that there are instances where infidelity cannot be deemed an automatic legal grounds of divorce, notably when both partners prefer to engage in a libertine lifestyle or when the behaviour of one member of the couple excuses the infidelity of the other.

“It’s a victory for freedom of expression over these bigots driven by a desire to censure,” said Caroline Mécary, the lawyer for Black Devine.

“I cannot hide my pleasure at this decision,” she added. “The court was not duped… We were faced with an association that promoted a certain vision of the family, except that this vision was theirs only and they cannot impose it on everyone.

The Catholic association, which was ordered to pay €2,000 court costs to Balckdevine, vowed to appeal.


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In Pictures: The Paris theatre show that forced the audience to strip naked

It might seem like a cruel joke on one of the coldest nights of the year, but French naturists are in the pink over the success of a Paris play the audience had to strip to see. Warning: This article contains nudity.

In Pictures: The Paris theatre show that forced the audience to strip naked
All photos: AFP

Undeterred by chilling name of the venue, the Palace of Ice, nudists shed their winter woolies to watch the farce sending up those who object to their lifestyle.

“There is no better way of laughing than to laugh in the nude,” said Cedric Amato, the head of a Paris nudist group, who braved a forecast of snow to attend.

The one-off show, about a brother and sister who find themselves on opposing sides of prickly social issues, was the first all-nude show in a major venue in the French capital.

The producers insisted that the audience must strip off to see the play, and that everyone must bring their own towel – for hygiene reasons.

VIPs, however, were provided with their own microfibre seat covering.

“Nu et approuvé”, which translates as nude and approved, is a play on words of a formula commonly used in France for signing official documents.

The squabbling siblings “have to drop their masks and bare all to find a more relaxed common ground.”

Nudists gave the show the thumbs up. “I really enjoyed it,” one middle-aged woman told AFP, while Amato said it was important because “it is a way for us also get to talk about our lifestyle and our needs.

“We need to break the social codes to be ourselves in a place like this and have a good time,” he said.

Naturists have been pushing to make their lifestyle more mainstream in Paris, with stand-up comedy nights, naked museum visits and a dedicated nudist zone in the city's biggest park.

However, the French capital's first nudist restaurant, O'Naturel, will close next month because it could not put enough bums on seats.