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France approves gay marriage bill

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — In the face of "vociferous opposition" from religious authorities and the political right, the French government is moving ahead with its plans to legalize gay marriage, The Independent reports.

The measure, opposed by about 1,000 mayors as well as leaders of the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic faiths, is up for debate in parliament in January 2013. It is expected to pass both houses of parliament "with relative ease," the report says.

If passed, the legislation, which its opponents say will destroy traditional families and the idea of mothers, fathers, wives and husbands, would introduce changes to the civil code that governs French family law. For example, the words "mother and father” will be replaced in some places by the word “parents,” and “husband and wife” will be replaced by “spouses." The draft bill also opens the way for gay married couples to adopt, in theory, but to the disappointment of many, it does not give lesbian couples the legal right to have "medically assisted" children.

According to The Independent, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the leader of the French Catholic Church, has said that “any vision of humanity which fails to recognise differences in gender will shake the foundations of our society." 

The owner of the rightwing newspaper Le Figaro has called the measure "an enormous danger to the nation."

Bill supporters argue that 11 countries have "already legalised gay marriage without falling into obvious moral or social decay."

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