Catholic pressure group launches legal action against website promoting extra-marital sex

Hundreds of posters for the site have been taken down

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A Catholic pressure group has started legal action against a French-based website which promotes extra-marital sex as a cheap “anti-depressant”.

In the country which produced Dominique Strauss-Kahn and invented the 5pm-to-7pm “adultery break”, such a protest might seem doomed to failure. But an umbrella group for Catholic family associations believes that the dating site, Gleeden, contravenes the Napoleonic civil code, still the basis of French law. Article 212 states: “Married couples owe each other respect, fidelity, help and assistance.”

Hundreds of posters for the site have been taken down after residents’ protests in the conservative western suburbs of Paris. The controversial poster shows an apple with a chunk bitten out of it and highlights the letters EDEN in Gleeden. A caption reads: “Unlike anti-depressant drugs a lover costs nothing on the state health service.”

Les Associations Familiales Catholiques have tabled a legal challenge to the posters and  the site (which is five years old and thriving). Their president, Jean-Marie Andres, said: “We want a legal judgement on an advertising campaign and a website which publicly promotes duplicity, lies and violation of the law… The drastic social consequences of infidelity cannot be ignored by our common conscience.”

US-owned Gleeden claims 2.3 million members in Europe, a million of them in France. Solène Paillet, a spokeswoman, said a ban would be a “step into the past”. “We do not encourage anyone to cheat on their partner. We just provide a platform,” she said. “There are people who find personal fulfilment in having someone else in their life.”

In recent memory, these people include the last six presidents of the Republic, Messieurs Hollande, Sarkozy, Chirac, Mitterrand, Giscard and Pompidou.