French President Francois Hollande met with local religious leaders, including the country’s chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, to hear their views on same-sex marriages.
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Tuesday's meeting at the Elysee Palace, the official presidential residence, was held days before a planned demonstration against a draft law unveiled in November by France’s Socialist government that would allow gay marriage.
At the “informal” meeting, Hollande did not comment directly on the concerns expressed by the religious leaders about the draft law, according to Le Figaro.
He is quoted as telling the guests that he “heard with utmost respect the opinions coming from religious denominations,” that the reform he is planning to lead “concerns only civil marriage” and that it has been approved in a democratic manner.
French officials have said they want to adjust the law to allow single-sex marriage by June.
In an essay published last October, Bernheim argued that plans to legalize gay marriage are being made for “the exclusive profit of a tiny minority” and are often supported because of political correctness.
In “Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say,” Bernheim also wrote that homosexual rights groups “will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse” in a wider campaign to “deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences” and “undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society.”
Bernheim's essay was praised by the pope in his Christmas address.
Fifty Muslim activists issued an open letter on Monday urging Muslims to join a major Paris protest against the law on Sunday. That followed a similar appeal January 5 by the influential Union of French Islamic Organizations.