A bill which seeks to make France the
12th and most influential country so far to legalize gay
marriage was presented Tuesday to Parliament for debate.
The bill constitutes an “act of
equality,” Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told the national
assembly in presenting the measure. “Finally, marriage will be a
“We have never underestimated the
importance of this reform,” she added.
President Francois Hollande campaigned
on a pledge to extend marriage and adoption rights to gay and lesbian
couples. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy never made good during his
tenure on a pledge to reform PACS, a form of domestic partnership
which offers significantly fewer protections to gay couples than
marriage, into something closer to Britain's civil partnership.
The Roman Catholic Church has
vociferously objected to the government's plans, sending hundreds of
thousands of people into the streets of Paris to protest. Supporters
over the weekend countered with their own Paris rally, which drew
125,000 demonstrators, police estimated.
According to a recent survey, a
majority (63%) of French support marriage equality.
Parliament is expected to debate the
bill over the next two weeks.