PARIS, June 14, 2011 ( – French legislators rejected a bill to legalize “homosexual marriage” today in a decisive vote by the National Assembly, the nation’s lower legislative house.

Assembly representatives voted against the bill, proposed by socialists, by a majority of 293 to 222.  The vote follows a ruling in January by the nation’s highest court, the Constitutional Council, stating that homosexual “marriage” is not a constitutional right.

Although a recent and much-cited poll found that a majority of French voters, 58 percent, favor the creation of homosexual “marriage,” Michel Difenbacher of the majority Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party said he thought it not necessary “to go with the wind nor to cede to fashion” with regard to the issue.

“We are against homophobia but we do not want to alter the image and function of marriage” within society, Difenbacher said.

Christian Vanneste and Brigette Bareges, also of the UMP, were more blunt in their negative assessment of the proposed measure.  Vanneste called such unions an “anthropological aberration,” while Bareges asked: “why not marriage with animals, or polygamy?”

The bill’s rejection by the National Assembly represents an ambivalence in French society towards the homosexualist movement. While France was the first European nation to create civil unions for homosexuals, a measure passed in 1999, it has steadfastly resisted the redefinition of marriage.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has portrayed himself as a champion of traditional Christian values, has called for the legalization of sodomy worldwide.  However, Sarkozy also opposed the “homosexual marriage” bill, provoking accusations of flip-flopping by socialist legislators, who say that he promised to pass such a measure in 2007.