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French Socialists agree on gay marriage compromise

France’s Socialist party dropped medically assisted procreation from a bill on gay marriage in a compromise attempt, ahead of opponents' demonstration
French president Hollande said he will not back down on gay marriage but offered a compromise on medically assisted procreation

French Socialist MPs have dropped an amendment legalising medically assisted procreation for same-sex couples in a compromise attempt with opponents of the gay marriage.

The compromise, according the Radio France, is designed to soften opposition to the marriage equality bill due for debate at the National Assembly at the end of this month.

The ruling Socialist party announced today (9 January) that it would not to table an amendment that would have enabled lesbian couples to have children by medically assisted means after being promised that it will be included in a future family law.

The announcement was made ahead of a national demonstration planned this Sunday, 13 January, against the legalization of gay marriage.

French LGBT rights groups have expressed their disappointment with the government's compromise.

Officially only the evangelical Protestants backed the demonstration, although Catholic, Orthodox Jewish and Islamic leaders have also expressed their opposition in a meeting with the French President François Hollande, yesterday (8 January).

Hollande, however, said he will not back down from his election pledge to legalize same-sex marriage, but expressed his eagerness to avoid an open conflict with France’s religious leaders.

The opposition center-right UMP party expressed its opposition to the bill and support of the religious leaders’ stance.

An opinion poll published yesterday that two thirds of the French public (60 percent) support gay marriage, although most considered it ‘secondary’ issue, with 46 per cent in favor of medically assisted procreation.

Although the ruling Socialist party wishes to avoid conformation with the country’s religious leaders it has expressed dismay at the antagonistic attitude the Catholic Church displays towards gay marriage.

Jean-Christophe Camadélis, leading Socialist MP, commented on Radio France: ‘I observe that every time the left is in power the Catholic hierarchy hits the streets’.

On Friday Education Minister Vincent Peillon sent a letter banning debates in France’s religious schools about gay marriage and called for ‘the greatest vigilance’ against homophobic outbursts.

The letter was in response to the Catholic education chief Eric de Labarre who suggested that religious schools might organise debates on the question.

Despite strong criticism of Peillon’s letter, President Hollande said he completely backed the minister’s position.  

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