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A SPOKESMAN for France's governing Socialist Party, David Assouline, said at the weekend that was not the Church's role:

To oppose the will of the legislature, especially concerning civil marriage in a secular republic.

According to this report, the party hit back hard at the Roman Catholic Church for campaigning against its plan to legalise same-sex marriage.

Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois spoke against the proposed law on Saturday and encouraged Catholics to write to their elected officials and take to the streets in protest against the reform due to be voted on by mid-2013.

The government is due to present the draft text of the law to the cabinet on Wednesday.

Jean-Marie Le Guen, Socialist senator from Paris, said:

I'm shocked by this attitude which I think is a kind of return to a fundamentalism that I find problematic.

In his Lourdes speech, Vingt-Trois, who is head of the bishops' conference, said legalising same-sex marriage would profoundly affect the equilibrium of French society and harm children who would grow up without a father and a mother.

Citing the slogan of the campaign for gay matrimony the reactionary old idiot said:

It will not be 'marriage for all'. It will be the marriage of a few imposed on all.

If the law passes, France – a traditionally Catholic society where churchgoers are now a single-digit minority - would become the 12th country in the world to allow same-sex marriage.

Erwann Binet, the Socialist Party's expert on the issue, said he hoped:

The Catholics don't try to impose their vision of the family on the society.

He told the Le Parisien newspaper France now had many different types of families, including homosexuals who are bringing up children.

We parliamentarians should assure that all these forms of family can have the same rights.

He also said that gay couples should have the right to adopt children or to resort to medically assisted procreation, both of which are only allowed to heterosexuals now.

The Catholic Church and France's Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox Christian and Buddhist religious minorities have been especially severe in criticizing the provisions for gay adoption and assisted procreation.

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