The Socialist government of Francois
Hollande on Wednesday approved a proposed plan to legalize marriage
and adoption for gay couples by early 2013.
Hollande's top Cabinet ministers
approved the bill, sending it to lawmakers for debate.
The move defies opponents who have
sharply condemned the proposal. Its largest opponent is the Roman
Catholic Church, whose head, Pope Benedict XVI, has called on
Catholics to “defend marriage.” Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois
labeled the reform “a fraud.”
Conservative UMP Senator Serge Dassault
called the proposed legislation “the end of the family.”
“It's the end of the family, the end
of children's development, the end of education,” Dassault lamented
on the radio show France Culture. “It's an enormous danger
to the nation.”
Family Minister Dominique Bertinotti
defended the reform, saying it was “an important step towards
equality of rights.”
While 11 countries have legalized
marriage equality, none rival the economic and diplomatic influence
The move comes a day after supporters
gains at the polls in the United States and Spain's
top court ruled in favor of the nation's law.