Hundreds of thousands of people have lined the streets of Paris to demonstrate against Francois Hollande’s plan to redefine marriage.
The organisers said there were 800,000 protestors, with people carrying placards that read: “We don’t want your law, Francois”.
Protestors also held blue and pink posters and banners declaring “all born of a father and mother”.
Concerned demonstrators poured into the country’s capital by chartered trains and buses and converged on the Eiffel Tower.
Roman Catholics and Muslims were also among the marchers – who, according to a police estimate, numbered around 340,000.
President Hollande wants his plan, which also includes homosexual adoption, to be passed into law by June.
He made the pledge as part of his election campaign but support for same-sex marriage has dropped considerably recently, according to surveys. And polling has shown fewer than half support homosexual adoption.
Earlier this month it emerged that France’s education minister wants to gag Roman Catholic schools in the country from talking about gay marriage.
Vincent Peillon says the schools should keep quiet. He has asked education officials to keep watch and report any ‘anti-gay’ views.
In a letter to regional education officials Peillon said RC schools should remain ‘neutral’ on the issue.
But the French Government has been accused of hypocrisy because it has been promoting the redefinition of marriage in state schools.
Last October a Government spokeswoman, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, was filmed in a state school praising the policy.
In the UK, a leading human rights lawyer has said David Cameron’s plans to redefine marriage would impact schools.
Aidan O’Neill QC says schools could lawfully dismiss any teacher who refuses to endorse gay marriage if it becomes law.