‘It seemed perfectly normal for me to carry out the marriage even though I still don’t agree with gay marriage,’ said 72-year-old Raymond Bardet, who has been the mayor of a small village of Ville-la-Grande, in the Haute Savoie near the Swiss border, since 1981.
Bardet is known for his hardcore opposition to the country’s highly controversial decision last year to allow same-sex marriage. Although legalized in May last year, same-sex marriage continues to face fierce opposition from conservative quarters.
But when asked to officiate at the wedding of his son and another man a week ago, he did not hesitate, reported The Guardian.
‘When my son asked me if I’d do it, I immediately told him “yes”, because I did the same for his sister and because we get on well. I didn’t want to give the wrong impression of relations with my family,’ Bardet reportedly told his local newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré.
He said he had never discussed same-sex marriage with his son prior to his union and has only known for two and a half months that his son is gay.
In January 2013, Bardet organised a mock gay marriage between two of his male staff, the town hall’s directors of technical services and communications. He declared that as a mayor, he would not perform any same-sex union ceremony.
The mayor says he is still opposed to same-sex marriage in general and that his son’s union will be both the first and last same-sex marriage he will conduct.
‘I perform very few marriages, there are the assistants who are in charge. I will not perform another gay marriage. I did it because he’s my son.’
Bardet said after the service, ‘If he is happy like that – good for him,’ The Local quoted him as saying.