A conservative Catholic family group has lost its suit against Gleeden, a dating website for married people seeking partners for an extra-conjugal affair, and been ordered to pay court costs for the company that runs the service.
The National Confederation of Catholic Family Associations brought the suit in 2015, arguing that the Gleeden website violated the marriage law which says “spouses owe each other mutual respect, fidelity, support and assistance”.
But a Paris court said there could be exceptions to that rule. ”The violation of this obligation cannot be considered a misdemeanour because couples can agree to ignore this obligation or the infidelity of one spouse can be excused by the behaviour of the other,” it said.
It ordered the confederation to pay 2,000 euros in court costs to Blackdivine, the internet company that owns Gleeden - a name formed from the English world “glee” and “Eden”..
"This is a victory for free speech against these censorious bigots," Blackdivine's lawyer said.
The confederation said it would consider appealing the ruling.
The confederation brought its suit after Gleeden put up large ads around Paris showing an apple with one bite taken out of it. "Contrary to anti-depressants, a lover doesn't cost the National Health anything," it said.
The posters were taken down in the well-off western suburbs of Paris after an outcry there.
Adultery has not been a crime in France since 1975.
The court decision came the same week as another website, which offers short daytime hotel reservations commonly associated with adultery, announced its traffic had doubled last year over 2015.