April 19, 2013

French President Francois Hollande's government called on Thursday for an end to violent protests against a same-sex marriage bill being debated in parliament, warning those behind a rise in homophobic assaults would be punished. Hollande's initiative to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot - the most significant social reform undertaken since France banned the death penalty in 1981 - has split the nation and sparked huge protests both for and against the law. As the lower house of parliament prepares for a final vote on the law next week, the "anti" protests have turned violent and police have noted a rise in homophobic assaults.