Protesters on both sides of the gay marriage debate have taken to the streets of Paris ahead of a vote in the French parliament on Tuesday.
Some 45,000 demonstrating against gay marriage and gay adoption say they were protecting the rights of children, saying the most vulnerable members of society need to be raised by a mother and a father.
The government first announced the details of the gay marriage bill in November, sparking regular protests ever since.
One anti gay-marriage campaigner said: “We want the President to understand that we have not been protesting for the last six months in vain.”
But those in favour say these people a simply demonstrating an irrational hatred of homosexuals, who should be allowed to live as they please.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, a leftist leader attending the pro rally, said: “ Why would I be bothered by someone wanting to get married? People organise their happiness and choose their own way of expressing love.”
While gay marriage bills have been passed quite smoothly in some other countries, like New Zealand on April 17, in France the issue has polarised the nation.
It has proved a difficult issue for France’s left-wing leader, Francois Hollande, who had pledged to support it during his presidential campaign.
The opposition parties to the right have united against the bill using it as another attacking point to put pressure on Hollande’s already embattled administration.