France is set to ban the words “mother” and “father” from all official documents under controversial plans to legalise gay marriage.

The move, which has outraged Catholics, means only the word “parents” would be used in identical marriage ceremonies for all heterosexual and same-sex couples.

The draft law states that “marriage is a union of two people, of different or the same gender”.

It says all references to “mothers and fathers” in the civil code – which enshrines French law – will be swapped for simply “parents”.

The law would also give equal adoption rights to homosexual and heterosexual couples.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told France’s Catholic newspaper La Croix: “Who is to say that a heterosexual couple will bring a child up better than a homosexual couple, that they will guarantee the best conditions for the child’s development?”

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