French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reiterated his opposition to gay marriage and the adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples.

In an interview with Le Figaro, Sarkozy says he remains opposed to marriage equality, knocking down a Liberation report that he was preparing to include gay marriage in his re-election platform.

Sarkozy said he does not favor such unions because they would open “the door to adoption.”

“In troubled times, when our society needs to keep its bearings, I don't think that it is necessary to blur the image of this essential social institution that is marriage,” Sarkozy told the paper, according to various reports.

The conservative incumbent added he believes there are good parents who are gay, but added that “they do not lead me to think that it is necessary to inscribe in law a new definition of family.”

Sarkozy is expected to launch his re-election bid in late February or early March.

Since 1999 France has recognized gay and lesbian couples with PACS, a form of domestic partnership. The law offers significantly fewer protections than marriage, and gay couples are barred from joint adoption of children.

During the 2007 presidential race, Sarkozy pledged to reform PACS into something closer to the UK's civil partnership. However, the law has not changed.

Socialist Party presidential candidate Francois Hollande has said that he would add gay marriage to his platform.