Critics of a gay marriage bill moving through parliament were denounced as "homophobic" by some 5,000 protesters in Paris on Wednesday. The rally, held in front of the city hall under steady rain and watchful police supervision, brandished slogans decrying "hate-filled" rhetoric seen as encouraging violence against gays and lesbians. "It's very important for us all to be here... to show an image of love in dignity," said one of the demonstrators, Wilfried de Bruijin, a Dutch gay man living in France who was brutally attacked in Paris last weekend while walking with his boyfriend. Photos of de Bruijin's battered face have been shared on social networking sites thousands of times. The protest came after France's Senate earlier Wednesday passed the first article of a bill that clears the way for a law enshrining the right for homosexual couples to marry. The issue has stirred vehement debate in France, an officially secular but predominantly Catholic nation that has a long history of tolerance towards many varieties of sexuality as long as they are kept discreet. In January, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded into Paris for an anti-gay marriage march. Last month, police fired tear gas on people protesting the bill, and dozens were arrested. Opponents said Wednesday they would organise another mass protest in Paris on May 26 if the law is approved, to demand its withdrawal and a referendum on gay marriage. Polls in France regularly show that a majority of people support gay marriage, but far less are in favour of same-sex adoption.Source: AFP << Precious Anti-Malaria Drug Gets Timely Boost in the Lab Same-Sex Marriage may Get the Nod in Uruguay >> Recommended Reading French Senate Grants Gay Couples the Right to Marry Clearing the way for a law that has sparked protests from conservatives and religious groups, France's Senate approved the crucial first article of a bill granting gay couples the right to marry. READ MORE US Republican Angst Prompted By Gay Marriage Momentum Republicans find themselves in a tightening political vice on the issue of Americans tilting toward support of gay marriage. READ MORE Anti-Gay Marriage Activists Continue to Protest in Paris With gay marriage looking increasingly likely to be legalized in France, tens of thousands of people protesting against any such legislation took out a protest march. READ MORE US Supreme Court to Oversee Fight for Gay Marriage When the US Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a landmark case, supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage are prepared to turn out in force in Washington. READ MORE Divorce: Pros and Cons Divorce can be traumatic for children and create a sense of insecurity amongst them. Couples should realize that joined parenting is important even after divorce. READ MORE How to Save your marriage You can save your marriage - even when your partner insists on a divorce. READ MORE Is Life Better Staying Single or Getting Married? The stigma linked to staying single is gradually disappearing. More people opt to stay single and many even claim to be happier. But there are both advantages and disadvantages to staying single. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Drug Side Effects Calculator Find a Doctor More News on: How to Save your marriageDivorce: Pros and ConsIs Life Better Staying Single or Getting Married?