The French Cabinet has approved a bill legalizing gay marriage, sending the measure to the legislature for debate the day after Maine and Maryland became the first American states to approve same-sex marriage in a popular vote.
Gay marriage has become a contentious issue in France, where President Francois Hollande made it a cornerstone of his campaign. At the time, it appeared to have the backing of a majority of the population, but support has fallen off amid vocal opposition from religious and rural leaders.
Lawmakers from the conservative UMP denounced the Cabinet approval on Wednesday.
"It's the end of the family, the end of children's development, the end of education. It's an enormous danger to the nation," UMP senator Serge Dassault said on the radio show France Culture.