Pro-Marriage Protests Erupt in France

Over at Ricochet I reflect on what preservationists in American can learn from the recent massive demonstrations in Paris for marriage:

Hundreds of thousands gathered in a massive demonstration in Paris last weekend to protest President Francois Hollande’s plan to legalize so-called gay marriage and adoption by gay couples. The diverse coalition included Catholic, Muslim, and Evangelical leaders and laity, secular conservatives and gay people. There was also a rousing performance by French comedian Frigide Barjot. (Get it?)

Many, myself included, were delighted by reports of the event and accompanying photos of the Champ de Mars packed with French citizens waving pink and baby blue signs reading “1 Pere + 1 Mere C’est Elementaire” and “La Manif pour Tous.” (“The Demonstration for All.”) This is France, after all, land of Voltaire, Bohemianism, and Jacques Derrida. France, of the 35-hour work week, subsidized child care, and the aforementioned Socialist President Hollande. Yet, this!

Also fascinating is the rather benign response to the protest from gay marriage advocates in France. Reports state that protestors traveled to and from the site and handed out literature without the sort of red-faced shouting matches one might expect at a similar event in the United States and elsewhere.

What explains such unusual circumstances? What can marriage preservationists in the States learn from these events?

Read the full piece here.

  • Larry

    I’m not looking for an argument. But if the French protesters are “pro-marriage”, then the folks they are protesting against would be “anti-marriage”, right? In which case, how is it that what the anti-marriage folks want is to be able to get married? And that the pro-marriage folks want to prevent these marriages? That’s confusing. I must be missing something.

    I wouldn’t say anything if you wanted the French protesters to be “pro” something more nuanced, such as “pro-Biblical definition of marriage, but no polygamy”, though then I don’t think you could articulate the position on the other side as simply anti the pro position — for one thing, I suspect that both sides agree that men and women should be able to marry, and that neither side advocates polygamy. This would make the opposing side “pro-Biblical definition of marriage, but no polygamy, and gay marriage is OK.” These labels have the advantage of emphasizing how much the two groups have in common! BOTH sides are willing to depart from the Biblical definition, and the only disagreement is the extent of the departure. But I’ll admit that my labels are longer than yours, and don’t work well in blog headlines. So perhaps this explains why you’ve reached for a simpler label.

    Heaven forbid that we decide important issues by which side gets to grab the best sounding simple label! I’m sure this was not your intent. But strictly speaking, if what you want are the simplest labels, the folks who want more people to marry are “pro-marriage”, and the folks who want fewer people to marry are “anti-marriage”. I mean, I wouldn’t be pro-democracy if I wanted fewer people to vote, and I wouldn’t be pro-religion if I wanted fewer people to worship. Like I said, I don’t want an argument here, and if your point is that marriage should be more exclusive, and their argument is that marriage should be more inclusive, fine! Argue away. Just find a label that, you know, actually reflects your position.

  • Reverend Robbie

    I love it. “Pro marriage”. Keep telling yourselves that. In the words of George Carlin, “Let’s stick to the language we’ve all agreed upon.”

  • Dorfl

    I second Larry’s comment. I realise that it sounds much more positive to be pro- than anti-, but in the end, saying that the protesters are ‘anti-gay marriage’ gives a concise description of what their position actually is, while ‘pro-marriage’ is about as vague as you can get.