New French President Francois Hollande rode to victory promising to legalize gay marriage, and with a majority of the public supporting it, what could go wrong? A lot, it turns out: Religious and rural leaders are opposing him, ambitious conservative politicians are piping up, and even his own Socialist ministers are sniping at each other, the AP reports. The result: His "marriage for everyone" law will come later than expected and may get watered down.
The debate exposes a cultural rift in France, where most people at least identify as Catholic, but civil unions remain popular among straight couples as well as gays and lesbians. One possible compromise: Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault favors gay marriage but without medically assisted reproduction like in vitro fertilization. For now, a small majority still supports gay marriage while approval of gay adoption has dipped below 50%. With own popularity declining, Hollande may have to expend more political capital on this than he expected.