Gays and lesbians take part in a fake gay wedding celebrated by Green party Europe-Ecologie-Les Verts (EELV) activists on the second day of EELV's summer party conference, on Aug. 19, 2011, in Clermont-Ferrand.
Credit: Bertrand Guay

France has agreed to legalize gay marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced Friday. The legislation will go into effect in 2013. 

Reuters reported that newly elected President Francois Hollande had promised same-sex marriage during his campaign, but had not given a timeline. 

"The government has made it an objective for the next few months to work on implementing its campaign commitments on the fight against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity," Ayrault's office said in a statement, according to Reuters. 

Currently, France only allows same-sex civil unions, Deutche Welle reported. Fellow EU nations Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden already allow same-sex marriage, according to Deutche Welle. 

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France's conservative UMP party, which opposed the measure under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, can do little to stop the Socialists from passing a law granting equal marriage rights to gay couples, according to Reuters. 

"A gay marriage law would boost Hollande's credentials as an agent of social change in the tradition of late Socialist president Francois Mitterrand, who appointed France's first female prime minister and scrapped the death penalty," Reuters reported. 

Six years ago, surveys showed that most French people were opposed to same-sex marriage, Deutche Welle reported. Today, however, public opinion has shifted drastically: according to a poll by BVA, more than 60 percent of France's population now supports gay marriage. 

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