On the same day that many Americans were celebrating historic election wins for LGBT equality, there was also significant progress overseas. France's new Socialist government introduced a bill to recognize marriage equality and gay adoptions on Wednesday, reports TIME and the New York Times.
President Francois Hollande and his Socialist Party have a majority in both houses of Parliament, and the bill is expected to pass sometime early next year. Christiane Taubira, the justice minister, told the conservative newspaper La Croix that "marriage for all" was a response to "a demand for equality."
The draft law redefines marriage to stipulate that it is "contracted between two persons of different sex or of the same sex" and the words "father" and "mother" in existing legislation are replaced by "parents." The bill would also allow married gay couples to adopt children.
But the move to legalize same-sex marriage has been controversial, and the bill was subject to delays in a country where only married couples can adopt. Opinion polls indicate that a majority of the French support gay marriage, but only half approve of allowing gays to adopt.
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira would implement the new bill if it becomes law. Taubira is the highest ranking Black cabinet official ever in French government.
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, voiced his opposition to the proposed legislation at a meeting of French bishops in Lourdes over the weekend. Opening up marriage to same-sex couples "would be a transformation of marriage that would affect everyone," he said. At the same time, failing to recognize gender difference within marriage and the family would be a "deceit" that would rock the foundations of society and lead to discrimination between children, he said.
Other religious groups in France, including Muslims, Jews and Buddhists, have also expressed their concern over the draft bill, and more than 100 lawmakers are against the legislation, according to CNN affiliate BFM-TV. Hundreds of mayors around the country have also voiced their opposition to the bill.
France would become the 12th nation to recognize equal marriage. Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway Portugal, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and Sweden currently mandate marriage equality. Mexico City also grants same-sex marriages which are recognized throught Mexico.
Nine states now allow marriage equality—Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington—as does the District of Columbia.