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Rural French mayors vow to perform gay marriages

The Association of Rural French Mayors (AMRF) says it will perform same-sex marriages despite right-wing calls for a 'get out' clause to law
The Association of Rural French Mayors (AMRF) says it will perform same-sex marriages despite right-wing calls for a 'get out' clause to President François Hollande's proposed law

French Mayors have vowed to perform same-sex weddings despite fierce opposition from religious groups and the country's rural right.

The Association of Rural French Mayors (AMRF) has come out in support of plans to legalize gay marriage, going against another group called Mayors for Childhood.

The anti-gay collective has called for an amendment to President François Hollande's draft law which would allow them to refuse to conduct same-sex marriages.

'Mayors are officers of the civil state, and regardless of their personal opinions, they must carry out what is written in law,' the AMRF said in a statement.

'The AMRF can therefore not support the idea of a personal opinion clause, which would allow those [against gay marriage] to excuse themselves from applying the law.

'It would be unthinkable for citizens that the first magistrate of their area holds an opinion which goes against the law.'

However, the AMRF stopped short of taking a moral stance on gay marriage saying the issue was 'not a priority'.

France has been divided on the proposals to give gay couples equal marriage and adoption rights, with the country's right-wing rural communities increasingly in opposition to city left-wingers.

Yesterday (29 October) the leader of the main centre-right opposition party, Jean-François Copé, called for street demonstrations against all left-wing projects which he claims threaten the 'pillars of our society'.

Last week a debate on the gay marriage law was delayed, prompting fears the government is backtracking on the issue.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault first named 31 October as the date when government ministers would present the law.

However, on 19 October, his office said talks have now moved to a week later on 7 November.

Parliamentary debates are now expected to last until January.

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