Same-sex marriage protest in France

Paris, April 22 (IANS/RIA Novosti) At least 45,000 people marched in the French capital Sunday in opposition to a controversial gay marriage bill sponsored by President Francois Hollande, police said.

Organisers of the rally put the number of protesters at some 270,000 people.

The demonstration comes just two days ahead of a final vote in the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, on the bill that allows same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

The draft law was approved by the upper house of the French parliament, the Senate, last week. The new legislation is expected to come into force this summer, after it is signed by President Hollande and published by the French Official Journal.

France allows civil unions between same-sex couples, but during his presidential campaign, Hollande pledged to extend their rights.

Although his socialist government faced opposition from over 1,000 mayors and the Catholic Church, it still approved a relevant bill in November 2012.

--IANS/RIA Novsoti

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