Incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy has re-affirmed his opposition to marriage equality ahead of this weekend’s elections in France.

M Sarkozy told France Inter radio that one does not choose to be gay and spoke of the growing social acceptance of gay relationships and said he hated “all forms of homophobia and racism”.

However, he said as he campaigns for a second five-year term, that he views the definition of a family as one mother and one father and he will not go so far as to legally change it.

His opposition to marriage equality for gay couples has been consistent and formed part of his presidential campaign in 2007.

Gay couples in France may enter a PACS civil solidarity pact but not marry, and are unable to adopt children jointly or have IVF treatment.

M Sarkozy told the radio station during a French-language interview: “To my knowledge and the current state of scientific knowledge, it requires a man and a woman to have a child.”

He said he would not go so far as to make a law stating that a gay relationship is the same as a straight one in which children are able to be conceived, as that was not his understanding of a family.

M Sarkozy had recently emerged with a small lead in opinion polls over his rival, Socialist Francois Holland, though this is now in question and M Hollande has been tipped to win a run-off.

The interview (in French) can be seen below.