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.