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France: Gay marriage fight pits left vs right, urban vs rural

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — With a draft law to amend France's Civil Code to permit same-sex marriage expected to go before government next week, The Independent is reporting that the issue is revealing rifts between not only the right and left, but between urban and rural parts of the country.

While homosexuality is seen to be generally accepted in urban areas, anti-gay sentiment is still rife in rural parts of the country and on the Catholic and conservative right, the report notes.

The UK news source says some of the country's 36,000 village and town mayors are spearheading a campaign for the right to refuse same-sex marriages in their town halls when they become legal, as anticipated, next year.

Even so, the Association of Rural French Mayors (AMRF) has thrown its support behind President François Hollande's plans to legalize gay marriage and is opposed to another group calling itself Mayors for Childhood, Gay Star News reports. 

In a statement, AMRF says "mayors are officers of the civil state, and regardless of their personal opinions, they must carry out what is written in law."

Meanwhile, Jean–François Copé, leader of the main centre-right opposition party, drew sharp criticism when he called for protests against "leftwing projects" that threaten "the pillars of our society."

In a townhall newsletter, one mayor suggested that gay marriage could lead to legislation of pedophilia, polygamy and incest.

A first reading of the draft law in the National Assembly has been postponed from December to an unknown date in the new year, The Independent says.

Landing image: Francois Hollande official photo

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