French President Francois Hollande said that his proposal to legalize “gay marriage” in the country would include a conscience protections for officials who want to opt out of presiding over ceremonies.
Hollande told the French Mayors Association on Nov. 20 that the country's leaders should enforce the measure if it passes, but that “options to delegate do exist and they could be broadened. And there is freedom of conscience.”
According to the Spanish newspaper La Razon, Hollande said the state must respect “secularism and equality” and that “the law will apply to everyone with respect for freedom of conscience.”
The proposed “gay marriage” law will be sent to the French Parliament at the end of January 2013, where it has the support of a majority of lawmakers.
Some parties have voiced opposition, however, and one hundred local mayors recently sent a letter to the president vowing to refuse to carry out same-sex unions.
On Nov. 17, some 250,000 people in ten cities across France rallied in support of traditional marriage. Paris, Toulouse, Rennes, Dijon, Metz and Marseille were among the cities where thousands turned out to oppose the proposed law.
In Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and the rector of the city's mosque, Kamel Kabtane, marched together in support of marriage as defined as between one man and one woman.
“We share the same fundamental values and we should defend them together,” they said.