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Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has favored a minimalist law that would not include access to medically assisted procreation such as in vitro fertilization. Parliamentary leader Bruno Le Roux has criticized the premier’s cautious stance and will present an amendment allowing gay couples the right to such procedures.

Many have taken their protests to the streets.

“We’re against (this law) in the name of the rights of the children because we want to protect the children against missing out unfairly on a daddy or a mommy,” said Tugdual Derville, general director of Alliance Vita, an association of conservative groups that staged demonstrations last week in cities around France.

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion. Even the politically neutral state child benefits agency has weighed in, criticizing the plan to scrap entries for “father” and “mother” in official records, replaced by “parent 1” and “parent 2”.

The most vocal opposition is coming from rural France, where leaders from right and left are campaigning for a “conscience clause,” which would allow mayors the right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. Some 1,200 French mayors and their deputies have signed a petition protesting the law.

After the draft law is presented to Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, it goes to the National Assembly for debate in January. Socialists hope that the majority they won in June’s parliamentary elections will be enough to push it through.