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Decision of December 19, 1980 , Constitutional Council, December 20, 1980 J.O. 3005.

Facts: The Constitutional Council (Conseil constitutionnel) was asked to verify the constitutionality of a law modifying the laws on rape and public morals. The challenged provisions of the proposed law provided that acts of indecent exposure committed or attempted (without violence, force, or surprise) against a minor of fifteen years or under would be criminally punished. It also authorized criminal sanctions against anyone committing an 'immodest or unnatural act' with a minor of the same sex who is eighteen years or under.

Issue: The law was challenged on two grounds: (1) that in differentiating between homosexual and nonhomosexual acts, it violated the principle of equality among offenders, and (2) that female minors would be unequally protected because indecent acts committed against them while between the ages of fifteen and eighteen would go unpunished.


Holding: The Constitutional Council (Conseil constitutionnel) rejected both of these arguments and held that the legislature had the right to differentiate between offenses of a different nature (homosexual vs. heterosexual acts) without violating the principle of equality as long as the offender, whether male or female, incurred the same punishment. The Council avoided the issue of morality, since deciding the normality or abnormality of homosexuality was not necessary to decide the case.

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