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PARIS, June 29 (Reuters) – France’s new Socialist government
is to legalise same-sex marriage next year, a junior minister
said on Friday, reflecting a shift in public attitudes in the
majority Catholic nation.
President Francois Hollande, who took office last month, had
pledged to legalise gay marriage and adoption during his
election campaign but had given no timeframe.
Since Hollande’s Socialists won an absolute majority in
parliamentary elections two weeks ago, the conservative UMP
party, which had opposed the measure under former president
Nicolas Sarkozy, can do little to stop it.
“Within a year, people of the same sex will be able to marry
and adopt children together,” Dominique Bertinotti, junior
minister for families, told the daily Le Parisien. “They will
have the same rights and duties as any married couple.”
A law granting full marriage status to gay couples would
bring France, which currently provides only for same-sex civil
unions, into line with fellow EU members Denmark, Portugal,
Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden.
It would also mark a profound change in French society,
where more than two-thirds of people still describe themselves
as Roman Catholic, according to a 2010 survey by pollster Ifop.
However, fewer and fewer of them adhere to strict Roman
Catholic teachings on sexual issues or back the Vatican’s
condemnation of homosexuality. Church attendance has collapsed.
As recently as 2006, surveys indicated that most French were
opposed to changing the definition of marriage, but now more
than 60 percent support the idea, the pollster BVA said. A
majority also favour allowing gay couples to adopt children.
Nevertheless, gay rights advocates say homosexuality remains
taboo in many areas of public life.
This article originally appeared on: http://www.cnbc.com/id/48014774/Rpt_France_to_adopt_gay_marriage_law_in_2013