A poster calling for same-sex marriage opponents to rally in France caused outrage on social media sites over what many claim is a racist depiction of the Justice Minister.

Euronews reports that on Monday night a Twitter user posted the image to advertise a demonstration for 26 May in Paris.

It depicts French Guiana-born Justice Minister Christiane Taubira as a gorilla being overwhelmed by marchers from the ‘Manif pour Tous’ anti-same-sex marriage movement.

Taubira has been one of the leading advocates of same-sex marriage legislation in France, and is often targeted by opposition demonstrators in slogans and posters.

However, the poster in question was denounced by marriage equality opponents as well as supporters after it circulated online.

One anti-equality campaigner wrote: “You are completely discrediting the Manif Pour Tous with this horrible image!”

It was also decried by equality supporters, with one tweeting: ““[The anti-same sex marriage crowd] go from presumed homophobes to proven racists.”

Defenders of the poster said that the image’s likeness to King Kong was simply meant to evoke the “destruction” same-sex marriage would bring to family life in France.

The picture was deleted from the original Twitter account that posted it on Tuesday morning. The owner said: “I confirm that I acted on my own, without racist intention. Sorry if it has hurt. I withdraw the picture but it is a misunderstanding. I used an already existing monster picture.”

Manif pour Tous’ official account Tweeted: “the only news and posters to take into account for the May 26 are those tweeted by this account.”

On 23 April the ruling Socialist party and their allies in the lower house of the National Assembly passed the bill 331 in favour – 225 against, giving same-sex couples the legal right to marry and adopt children.

Following the vote, riot police charged several times to attempt to clear protesters from Les Invalides, however they were forced to move down to the banks of the river Seine, where more violent clashes took place.

The final remaining step before the bill becomes law is for it to be signed by President Francois Hollande, who gave his formal approval to the bill last November.

President Hollande urged the country to move on after the divisive debate around equal marriage.