Reuters 29 June 2012
France’s new Socialist government is to legalize marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault 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 legalize gay marriage and adoption during his election campaign but had given no time frame. 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. “The government has made it an objective for the next few months to work on implementing its campaign commitments on the fight against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity,” Ayrault’s office said in a statement.
…A gay marriage law would boost Hollande’s credentials as an agent of social change in the tradition of late Socialist president Francois Mitterrand, who appointed France’s first female prime minister and scrapped the death penalty. Hollande fathered four children out of wedlock with his former partner, fellow Socialist Segolene Royal. A debate on gay rights might also draw some attention away from the economic woes weighing on his popularity.