BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — After receiving several threatening messages, the mayor of a small town in northern France has cancelled plans to marry a lesbian couple, France24 reports.
"By a mutual accord between the two young women and myself, we have cancelled this civil act that is not yet authorized by law,” Hantay mayor Désirée Duhem said in a statement. “Given the numerous violent and threatening reactions, I currently cannot take the risk of darkening this day."
Despite ongoing vociferous opposition from religious leaders and the political right, the French government recently approved a draft bill to authorize gay marriage and adoption, with debate on the measure scheduled for January 2013.
"In announcing the premature wedding between the lesbian couple, Mayor Duhem said she hoped the government would afford her some leeway,” France24 says.
Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and anti-gay groups, as well as France’s conservative opposition, have called for nationwide protests against gay marriage on Nov 17.
A recent poll, however, indicated that 65 percent of French people support gay marriage, and 53 percent are in favour of allowing same-sex couples to adopt.