Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday called for repeal of France's gay marriage law.

Sarkozy, who is vying to head the opposition UMP Party, made his comments at a candidates debate in Paris organized by the conservative movement Common Sense, according to the AFP.

When Sarkozy told the crowd that the law “should be rewritten from the ground up,” the audience chanted “Repeal! Repeal!,” to which the former president responded: “If you prefer that I say repeal the law … it comes down to the same thing.”

Sarkozy's successor, Socialist Francois Hollande, campaigned on the pledge to legalize marriage and adoption for gay and lesbian couples.

Opponents last year organized massive rallies – some of which turned violent – against the law's passage.

Sarkozy has previously said that he “detested” the way the law was introduced, in particular its overriding “marriage for all” theme, which he described as “humiliating” to families and “people who love the family.” Saturday's comments were his strongest yet on the issue.