A contender to run in the 2007 French Presidential election has pledged support for same sex marriage.

Segolene Royal, the favourite to stand as the Socialist Party nomination, told a gay magazine that she would introduce a gay marriage law if she was voted in.

Ms Royal told Tetu magazine, “It is essential that everybody has equal rights and dignities and the chance to express themselves freely.”

She also expressed support for gay adoption.

Current President Jacques Chirac is reported to oppose gay marriage and was hesitant to introduce civil union laws in 1999, which apply to all couples in France.