The French government is expected to introduce legislation in October that would legalize same-sex marriage, a move that would bring France in line with several European countries and fulfill an campaign promise by President François Hollande.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, had previously announced in the French Parliament that gay and lesbian couples would be permitted to marry and adopt children by 2013.
“In October, we will send a bill to the National Assembly and the Senate to allow same-sex couples to marry,” Ayrault said Saturday, in an address to Socialist Party members at their annual gathering. “It would also allow them to form families and adopt children.”
Once introduced, the bill will be debated in France’s two houses of Parliament, which are both controlled by Hollande’s Socialist Party.
Should the Parliament approve the bill, France would join countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Spain in allowing gay marriage.
In the late 1990s, France was one of the first countries to permit same-sex civil partnerships, which gave the principal rights and obligations of marriage except for adoption.
According to several polls, a majority of French people approve same-sex marriage, although the majority support for adoption is thinner.