France is a secular republic, and this matters to them. Within that secularity, the equality of women and men – anathema to many theocracies – also matters to them. When France outlawed burqas, burkinis, and other overt marks of gender and religious submission, it made a strong statement about the primary importance of preserving to the extent possible a secular, egalitarian, public realm.

The full draping of women’s bodies in an expression of obedience to religious modesty mandates is anathema to a secular, egalitarian republic like France, so no one should be surprised that the city of Grenoble’s attempt to disobey the country’s burkini ban would provoke an outcry.

Grenoble has done what it can within the country’s court system to try to uphold its refusal to ban the garment, but today France’s top administrative court said nope. Not in public.

Grenoble is free to go to higher international courts, and I suppose it will. It won’t prevail there either.

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