French Church says gay marriage law just for the few

Sat Nov 3, 2012 7:20pm GMT
 

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

PARIS (Reuters) - France's leading Roman Catholic prelate said on Saturday a government plan to legalise same-sex marriage would profoundly affect the equilibrium of French society, calling it a reform for a few but not all citizens.

Speaking in the pilgrimage town of Lourdes, Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois urged Catholics to show their opposition to a planned marriage reform by writing and speaking to their elected officials or taking part in protest marches.

His call to action, announced at an annual plenary meeting of the country's Catholic bishops, came as President Francois Hollande's left-wing government prepared to present its draft bill on gay marriage in cabinet next Wednesday.

If the law passes, France - a traditionally Catholic society where churchgoers are now a single-digit minority - would become the 12th country in the world to allow same-sex marriage.

Opinion polls say voter support for same-sex matrimony has slipped several points to under 60 percent and to under 50 percent for gay adoption as the opposition has ratcheted up its campaign since last summer.

A BVA survey published by Le Parisien newspaper on Saturday said this was the first fall in support after a decade of rising acceptance for the two reforms. "Opinion trends on the subject are clearly on the retreat," it said.

French faith leaders - mostly Catholic, but also Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and Orthodox Christian - and conservative politicians have mobilised against the law, especially against its provision to allow gay couples to adopt children.

"The presidential and legislative elections (earlier this year) did not give them carte blanche, especially not for reforms that very profoundly affect the equilibrium of our society," said Vingt-Trois, calling the planned law "a fraud".   Continued...

Members of the Alliance VITA association demonstrate against the government's draft law to legalise marriage and adoption for same-sex couples in Lyon October 23, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Pratta
 
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