Gay rights activists in France consider it homophobic to request that children have access to both a father and mother.
In their quest to redefine marriage, gay lobby has also redefined homophobia. They believe that supporting the right of children to have a loving and committed relationship with both a mother and a father is flaming homophobia.
Roman Catholic congregations in churches across France prayed for traditional marriage on Wednesday, provoking accusations of homophobia from gay rights groups as Paris prepares to legalize same-sex matrimony.
The rare clerical foray into political debate, on the Assumption Day holiday observed in traditionally Catholic countries in Europe, referred only indirectly to the new marriage law the government plans to pass next year.
But the carefully worded text, first published earlier this month, dominated the news headlines in France, where the media have presented it as a strong attack on the reform.
Church leaders insisted their aim was to launch an open debate about plans to legalize same-sex marriage and euthanasia, two in a list of 60 pledges made by Francois Hollande in his successful election campaign for the presidency last spring.
"The Church wants a debate about social reforms that are coming soon and that really worry us," Monsignor Bernard Podvin, spokesman for the bishops' conference, told LCI television.What was the prayer that outraged the gay lobby?
In the passage widely taken as an allusion to same-sex marriage and adoption, it said children should "cease to be objects of the desires and conflicts of adults and fully benefit from the love of a father and a mother".
As Monsignor Podvin pointed out, "This prayer does not exclude anyone."
Gay rights groups disagreed. "This message is fertile ground for discrimination and homophobia," Michael Bouvard of the SOS Homophobie group told LCI. Secularists have also asked if the Church should publicly take sides in a political debate.
Do gay rights activists believe in the separation of church and marriage?
Does the gay lobby believe children should not benefit from the love of a father and a mother?
Does anti-gender marriage oppose the rights of children?