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Sun Dec 9, 2012 5:54AM
Protesters hold a demonstration against same-sex marriage and the adoption of children by gay couples in Lille, northern France, December 8, 2012.

Protesters hold a demonstration against same-sex marriage and the adoption of children by gay couples in Lille, northern France, December 8, 2012.

Thousands of people have staged demonstrations across France in protest against a controversial bill that legalizes same-sex marriage and adoption. The protests against the ‘Marriage for All’ bill were held in the cities of Bordeaux, Lille, Reims, Nancy and le Mans on Saturday. Same-sex marriage was one of the presidential campaign promises of French President Francois Hollande, but his proposed legislation now has to go through the parliament to become a law. The draft law has also drawn criticism from conservative lawmakers as well as Muslim, Protestant and Jewish communities in the predominantly Catholic nation. Meanwhile, proponents of gay marriage held a demonstration in support of the controversial bill in Bordeaux on Saturday. However, opponents of gay marriage have organized a demonstration to be held on January 13. The Paris churches have condemned the bill, calling gay marriage “a sham” that would “shake one of the foundations of our society.” Pope Benedict XVI has also called on French bishops to oppose the bill and defend marriage as the “foundation of social life.” In addition, more than 2,000 mayors have signed a petition asking to be exempted from officiating at such weddings if the legislation is passed. Several other European states, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Norway, Spain and Sweden have authorized same sex-marriage. AO/HSN
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