Tens of thousands rally in Paris to back gay marriage
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to show support for the French government's plans to legalise gay marriage and adoption.
Organisers said 150,000 people gathered in the Place de la Bastille for the "demonstration for equality". Police said 60,000 took part.
Carrying banners reading "Equal rights are not a threat" and "The right for all to choose", protesters urged the government to push ahead with the reform.
"I think marriage is good for everyone!," said 10-year-old Arthur, at the rally with his eight-year-old sister Lola and their two mothers.
One of them, Christelle, said it was unfortunate that the debate over gay marriage in France had turned ugly in recent months.
"For the first time our children have experienced homophobia that shocked them," she said, adding that this only "makes me want to fight even harder for gay marriage".
Thousands had rallied in other French cities including Marseille, Lyon and Nantes on Saturday to back the reform.
France's parliament is to debate the government-backed "marriage for all" bill early next year.
With President Francois Hollande's Socialists enjoying a strong majority, the bill is expected to pass despite vehement opposition from the right and religious groups.
Tens of thousands marched across the country last month to denounce the bill, and opponents, including some prominent Church leaders, have said gay marriage will open the door to polygamy and incest.
Another protest against the bill has been called for January 13.
A nationwide poll by firm IFOP released on Saturday showed 60 percent of respondents in favour of legalising gay marriage and 46 percent backing adoptions by same-sex couples.
© 2012 AFP