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Thousands demonstrate in support of gay marriage in France

Thousands of people across France have demonstrated in support of same-sex marriage. The rallies come after even more people took to the streets last month to protest against it.

Tens of thousands of supporters of same-sex marriage and adoption marched through Paris Sunday, backing the government's planned reforms. Estimates of those attending the demonstration ranged from 60,000 to 150,000.

Some 100,000 people protested last month against the reforms.

Participants, who marched to drum beats and jazz music, waved rainbow flags and held up signs saying "liberty, equality, dignity" and "hate is not a family value."

"Oui, oui, oui" (yes, yes, yes) was among the chants in support of same-sex marriage, adoption rights for homosexual couples and access to assisted procreation methods such as artificial insemination.

Rallies also took place in other cities around the country over the weekend.

Mixed approval

An opinion poll from the Sunday newspaper "Journal de Dimanche" said 60 percent of voters supported extending marriage rights to homosexuals, but only 46 percent favored allowing same-six couples the right to adopt.

A bill from France's socialist government, due to pass in mid-2013, would legalize gay marriage and adoption, but not assisted procreation. Left-wing deputies of President Francois Hollande are planning to add that option to the law. The president was not initially supportive of the move, but has now conceded.

The bill's passage would make France the 12th country to legalize same-sex marriage, joining Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden.

Same-sex couples in France currently have the right to register their relationships as civil unions.

Groups opposed to same-sex marriage are planning another large protest in Paris on January 13, just a few weeks before the proposed bill is set to be introduced in parliament on January 29.

dr/kms (Reuters, dpa, AP)