The French Senate has begun a debate on
a bill to legalize marriage and adoption for gay and lesbian couples.
The measure easily cleared the lower
house of parliament, the National Assembly, in February and is
expected to narrowly pass the Senate. Both chambers are dominated by
the ruling Socialist Party and its allies.
Socialists, Greens and Communists
mostly support the marriage reform, while the conservative UMP Party
leads the opposition.
“This is a law for equality,”
Senator Jean-Pierre Michel said. “It is not an attack on the
traditional family. The so-called traditional family you hear about
in the demonstrations – mom, dad, kid – that's not the reality in
France anymore, or in other countries, either.”
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.
of thousands join Paris anti-gay marriage rally.)
On Thursday, opponents planned to stage
protests outside the Senate.
According to Al
Jazeera, about 280 amendments have been introduced for
debate, and a vote is not expected until April 12 or 13.
A CSA poll released Thursday showed
that a majority (53%) of the French people support marriage equality,
while 56 percent are opposed to adoption by gay couples.
If the bill is approved, France would
become the 12th and most influential country so far to
legalize marriage equality.