Update, 26 May: In a decision described as "unusual" the local government has granted the residence permit, in advance of an appeal hearing.
Breaking with a ministerial order from 1999, the prefecture of Hérault has refused a residence permit to a Brazilian woman, Lucia, despite her being in a PACS (civil partnership) with a French woman for over a year.
The Collective against Homophobia (CCH) has challenged the decision. The residence permit has been denied despite their PACS and that they have lived together for over two years. Around twenty activists gathered outside the Administrative Court in Montpellier to accompany the lawyer for Lucia, Ms. Sophie Mazas, as an appeal was filed .
Under this immigration rule in force since 1999, a foreign national couple may claim a residence on two conditions: that the couple is bound by a PACS 'proving the strength of the relationship', and they can prove a year of living together at least. The couple have lived together for two years and three months.
They met in Brazil in 2008 and, after a series of trips between France and Brazil, Lucia decided to move in with her girlfriend in a village north of Montpellier in February 2009. Six months later, the two women were linked by a PACS. In August 2010, a year after the PACS, she made the application for residency.