French Socialist government unveils draft gay marriage law

November 7, 2012

(French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira attends a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer )

France’s Socialist government approved a draft law on Wednesday to allow same-sex marriage, despite coming under fierce attack from religious leaders and conservative politicians.

The proposed law, presented as the first major social reform of Francois Hollande’s presidency, would grant gay couples the right to adopt children but not to use assisted procreation methods such as artificial insemination.

Parliament is due to vote on the proposals by mid-2013.

The draft was a compromise, leaving out the complex issue of assisted procreation to ease its way through parliament. But left-wing deputies have vowed to amend the text to include it.

Leaders of all major faiths and some conservative deputies have vigorously denounced the plan and lay Catholic groups have announced street demonstrations against it next week.

“This is an important step towards equality of rights,” Family Minister Dominique Bertinotti told reporters after the cabinet meeting adopted the draft to allow “marriage for all,” as its supporters describe the reform.

A government spokeswoman said Hollande told the cabinet the reform would be “progress not only for a few, but for the whole society,” a clear response to a charge by Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois that it was “a fraud” favouring a tiny minority.

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