Socialists in Parliament hope the step will cut religious opposition to the "marriage for all" bill, Radio France Internationale reported. A poll released Tuesday said 60 percent of the public in France favor allowing same-sex couples to marry, but only 46 percent support opening reproductive assistance to lesbian couples who want children.
A major demonstration is scheduled Sunday against same-sex marriage. The protest is supported by evangelical Protestants, although conservative Catholics, Jews and Muslims are also expected to turn out.
Some Socialists said the party has a history of backing down in confrontations with religious groups, especially the Catholic Church.
"I observe that every time the left is in power the Catholic hierarchy hits the streets," Jean-Christophe Camadelis, a member of the National Assembly, told RFI Tuesday.