Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault

France’s new Prime Minister has promised to legalise same-sex marriage and gay adoption in the country within a year.

“In the first half of 2013, the right to marriage and adoption will be open to all couples, without discrimination,” Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told parliament on Tuesday.

“Our society is evolving, lifestyles and mentalities are changing. The government will respond to that,” he said.

The announcement followed a statement on Paris Pride day over the weekend by government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem that a marriage equality law will be passed next year.

During his campaign for the 2012 presidential election, President François Hollande also declared his support for same-sex marriage.

His Socialist Party has an absolute majority in the French parliament, which means that the proposed law should be passed with ease.

Under current law, same-sex couples in France can enter into civil unions, known as ‘pacte civil de solidarité’ or PACS, but not marriage.

In Europe, same-sex marriage is legal in Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

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