The leader of France’s main centre-right opposition party has called for street protests to take place across the country over the government’s proposed equal marriage law.

Jean-François Copé is the secretary general of the Union for a Popular Movement and also mayor of Meaux near Paris.

According to the Independent, Mr Copé has described the reforms as a left-wing threat to the “pillars of our society”.

Draft legislation, that would also include provision for married gay couples to adopt children, is taking longer to proceed through the country’s parliament.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced a longer period of consultation earlier this month.

Opposition seems to be building across many sections of French politics to the plans.

A number of rural politicians are calling for a conscience clause, which would allow mayors in villages and small towns to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

More than 1,200 French mayors and their deputies have signed a petition against the measure.

Plans to scrap the entries for “father” and “mother” in official records in favour of “parent 1” and “parent 2” have also been denounced by opponents.

President Hollande has promised that equal marriage legislation will be on the statute books by mid-2013.