Catholic Church risks being the biggest loser over civil marriage
Many Irish people have French holiday memories of the young bride and groom happily flitting from the town hall to church as they undergo two wedding ceremonies.
But that happy image belies a gut struggle between church and state that has marked French society at many levels. Irish bishops and government ministers are nowhere near getting stuck into that kind of conflict.
But things are getting tetchy as polling day in the same-sex marriage referendum looms into view. Already, all churches have been guaranteed a conscience clause obviating any suggestion that they must offer wedding ceremonies for gay couples.