No handshake, no wedding in Mechelen

The Mayor Mechelen, Bart Somers, intends to speak with everybody involved in a wedding ceremony that was abandoned after the bride was unwilling to shake the hand of the alderman who was supposed to perform the ceremony. Mr Somers insists that the legal right to marry must be respected and plans to enter a dialog with those involved.
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In an earlier Tweet Mr Somers noted that a state of law must be guaranteed in his municipality and that the legal right to wed must be respected. He pledged to defend his principles including those regarding gender equality in a dialog with mutual respect and to look for solutions and rapprochement.

Green majority councillor Kristof Calvo added that a shaking of hands wasn't one of the legal requirements that had to be met if a marriage was to proceed: "A town must always guarantee the legal right to wed."

Mr Calvo attacked the alderman who felt he could not perform the wedding ceremony for failing to look for solutions and a dialog. He castigated Marc Hendrickx after he gave prominence to the incident on social media.

Mr Hendrickx feels let down by the mayor and the coalition partner claiming that there was an agreement not to have any alderman perform a wedding ceremony if a bride or groom refused to shake that alderman's hand. "I was in the moral impossibility of concluding the marriage ceremony" he said.

In Mechelen bride and groom are made well aware of the requirement to shake the alderman’s hand ahead of the ceremony.