The French government is expected to approve a draft law to legalise gay marriage tomorrow amid an intensifying campaign against the plan by Catholic bishops and the right-wing opposition.
François Hollande has promised that laws introducing same-sex marriage and adoption will be enacted by mid-2013 and believes he can count on an alliance of the left, centrists and right-wing social liberals for a large majority. If the law were to pass, France would become the 12th country in the world to allow same-sex marriage.
On the eve of the draft legislation going to cabinet, however, a prominent Paris cardinal denounced gay marriage as a “sham”, while the UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy urged the government to slow down the process.
Opinion polls show that up to two-thirds of French voters back homosexuals’ right to marry, but they are split on allowing gay couples to adopt.
The Catholic Church has grown more vocal in its opposition since Pope Benedict XVI last month urged French bishops to oppose the Bill. Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris, who is head of the bishops’ conference, told pilgrims in Lourdes on Sunday that legalising same-sex marriage would be a “sham” that would undermine one of the pillars of society.