REUTERS - France’s new Socialist government is to legalise same-sex marriage next year, a junior minister said on Friday, reflecting a shift in public attitudes in the majority Catholic nation.
President Francois Hollande, who took office last month, had pledged to legalise gay marriage and adoption during his election campaign but had given no timeframe.
Since Hollande’s Socialists won an absolute majority in parliamentary elections two weeks ago, the conservative UMP party, which had opposed the measure under former president Nicolas Sarkozy, can do little to stop it.
“Within a year, people of the same sex will be able to marry and adopt children together,” Dominique Bertinotti, junior minister for families, told the daily Le Parisien. “They will have the same rights and duties as any married couple.”
A law granting full marriage status to gay couples would bring France, which currently provides only for same-sex civil unions, into line with fellow EU members Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden.