French senators debate gay marriage bill amid protests

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French senators debate gay marriage bill amid protests

by AFP Videos 0:45 mins

French senators debate gay marriage bill amid protests

by AFP Videos 0:45 mins

SHOTLIST NO RESALE for non-editorial purposes PARIS, 4 Apr 2013 SOURCE: FRENCH SENATE SOUNDBITE 1, Christiane Taubira, French Justice Minister (French, 23 sec): "With my colleague Dominique Bertinotti, the Minister for Family, I have the honour of presenting to the Senate the bill which was comfortably approved by the National Assembly by 329 votes to 229, and which aims to open up marriage and adoption to couples of the same sex." ["Avec ma collègue, Dominique Bertinotti, ministre de la Famille, nous avons l'honneur de présenter au sénat le projet de loi qui a été adopté largement par 329 députés pour contre 229 contre à l'Assemblée nationale et qui vise à ouvrir le mariage et l'adoption aux couples de même sexe"] SOUNDBITE 2, Christiane Taubira, French Justice Minister (French, 14 sec): "In opening this up to same-sex couples, we are making an act of equality -- equality of rights for all couples, equality of rights for all families." ["En l'ouvrant aux couples de même sexe, nous en faisons un acte d'égalité, l'égalité des droits pour tous les couples, l'égalité des droits pour toutes les familles."] -GVs Christiane Taubira coming to lectern and delivering speech -GVs senators ---------------------------- AFP TEXT STORY French senators debate gay marriage bill amid protests by Suzette Bloch =(PICTURE+VIDEO)= ATTENTION - UPDATES with start, ADDS quote, background /// PARIS, April 4, 2013 (AFP) - French senators on Thursday began debating a hugely controversial bill to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption, sparking protests by opponents keen to see the groundbreaking reform thrown out. The bill has come under fierce attack in a country that is officially secular but predominantly Catholic, mobilising hundreds of thousands of people pro- and anti-gay marriage protesters nationwide. "We have the honour of submitting the bill, which was comfortably adopted by the National Assembly (the lower chamber) and aims to open up marriage and adoption to same-sex couples," Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said. Debate on the bill is likely to last until April 12 or 13 in the Senate, after which senators will vote to approve or reject it. While the upper house is unlikely to reject the groundbreaking reform, it is still expected to be a tight vote as the ruling Socialists enjoy a smaller majority in the Senate than in the National Assembly. Broadly speaking, the Socialists support the proposed reform, as do the Greens, Communists and some centrists. Some 280 amendments have been introduced for debate, and the right-wing opposition UMP party may put forward a motion asking for the bill to be put to a referendum. Early on Thursday, opponents registered their protest by turning up at the home of centre-right, pro-bill Senator Chantal Jouanno, blowing whistles and shouting slogans, to try and persuade her to vote against the bill. Two other anti-gay marriage groups are planning protests later in the day in front of the Senate -- one with whistles, drums, tin cans and saucepans, the other involving Catholics praying. Opinion polls have routinely indicated that a majority of French people support gay marriage. On Thursday, research by pollsters CSA showed that 53 percent of the French were "favourable" to same-sex marriage, but that 56 percent opposed adoption by a homosexual couple. The movement against gay marriage has been more vociferous than the one backing same-sex unions. A campaign orchestrated by the Catholic Church and belatedly backed by the mainstream centre-right opposition has steadily gathered momentum. In January, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded into Paris for an anti-gay marriage march. Last month, police were forced to fire tear gas on people protesting the bill, and dozens were arrested. French President Francois Hollande championed same-sex marriage and adoption during his election campaign last year, and his support for the legislation has not wavered throughout the turmoil. His girlfriend, Valerie Trierweiler, has revealed that the president will be attending the marriages of gay friends once the legislation is on the statute books. szb/mbx/mm/fb

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