The traditional definition of marriage has been upheld by the French Parliament.
The country’s law was previously challenged by a lesbian couple who were calling for same-sex marriage so they could have inheritance rights and joint custody rights which are reserved for married couples.
France’s highest court, the Constitutional Council, ruled in favour of the traditional definition of marriage in January, maintaining that it did not breach the French Constitution.
The court said it was up to parliament to decide whether to change the law, but members of the lower house have now voted 293 to 222 in favour of traditional marriage.
In February the British Government’s Equalities Office revealed that it would “formally look” at redefining marriage so that homosexual couples could get the same certificate as married people.
The Government is currently consulting on plans to allow civil partnerships to be registered in churches for the first time. The consultation will close next week.
A senior Conservative MP slammed the coalition Government for considering doing “away with traditional marriage”.
Edward Leigh MP questioned why the Government was trying to ‘mangle’ marriage, warning that it could have devastating consequences for those who adhere to the traditional definition.
Also in February a number of evangelical Christian organisations released a joint statement pledging to “firmly oppose” any change to the law.
And media commentators also expressed concern at the prospect of marriage being redefined.
Michael White, writing on the Guardian’s politics blog, said: “Aside from all the theological, moral and cultural freight, there’s an important practical distinction here which goes to the root of any society – namely that heterosexual marriage is there to produce and raise children in a more or less stable environment.”
Mr White, an Assistant Editor of The Guardian, went on to warn that no amount of technology could “eliminate the need for a female egg and a male sperm to make a baby. On that fact rest all successful societies since the year dot.”