Same-sex couples will be able to get married and to adopt under legislation to be introduced next month and voted on in early 2013.
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said Sept. 11, “We are well aware of the philosophical and anthropological dimensions around marriage, but we feel that they should not break the rule of equality.”
Taubira said the legislation would extend the rights of marriage, kinship and parentage to same-sex couples and open up adoption to gays either individually or as a couple.
France currently recognizes same-sex civil unions that provide some marriage-like benefits to same-sex couples.
Marriage equality legislation would put France on par with other EU countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
The legislation likely will face opposition from the Catholic Church, which has encouraged priests to lead prayers on the issue during Mass.
However, polls show that about two-thirds of French citizens support marriage equality.
Also, President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault have said achieving marriage equality is a goal.