Update: French Protests Against Gay Marriage Vote Turn Violent

Protesters against the French government’s action legalizing gay marriage grew in numbers after the vote Tuesday, then turned more violent toward midnight.

According to an Associated Press story, protestors threw bottles, cans and metal bars at police who lobbed tear gas back. 

Much of the press I’ve read has treated the action of the French government as heroic. One headline talked about how the French government had “stared down the conservatives” to pass the law. An issue that sets off marches of as much as a million and a half citizens is deeply controversial, at best. What the French government “stared down” was its own citizens.

I have no idea how things will proceed now that the measure, which takes effect in June, has passed.

From the Associated Press:


French Protest Against Gay Marriage Turns Violent

April 23, 2013 6:47 PM

PARIS (AP) — France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation’s heartland and triggered huge demonstrations that tapped into intense discontent with the Socialist government. Within hours, fiery clashes broke out between protesters and riot police.

Legions of officers stayed late into the night, and a protest against the measure turned violent near the Invalides complex of museums and monuments. Protesters threw glass bottles, cans and metal bars at police, who responded with tear gas. (Read more here.)

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  • Dave

    And that’s a march of a million plus people out of a total French population of 65 million. That’s equivalent to a 5+ million person march here in the U.S.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      If you just use the population difference as a multiplier I get a little over 8 million as an equivalent number for America. That’s a march of over 8 million people.

      And they did it more than once.

      • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

        How does that work? 65 times 8 equals 520. Last I heard, the population of the USA was estimated at 300 million or so.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          I used 350 mill which was a guess. I think it has grown above 300, but I’m not sure how much. My math is ALWAYS untrustworthy. :-)

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        Actually the multiplier would be 300 (which I’m using as the US population) divided by 65 for 4.62.

  • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

    That was what the scum-on-top wanted: violence in the streets. Show the timid citizen, the one who gets his ideas from the (bought and paid for) press and television, that these were really the fascists, reactionaires, Petainistes and haters that Hollande and his accomplices had cast them as. And then unleash the police and break them. Hollande will lose the next elections, of course, but there are servile members of the “Gay Marriage” party in the opposition as well, and the legislation will not be revoked.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      That’s how it works here, Fabio. They just use the issue to win the election and then ignore it afterwards. Happened with the Brady bill.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I don’t know how French politics works but when a party line vote causes this much turmoil in the US political system, it pretty much means that the government in power has effectively cut themselves off from future accomplishments and is heading for a political defeat. If it works similarly in France, then the socialists have staked their entire government on this one issue. May they go down in flames and this law be over turned.

  • Ashley

    Sixty percent of the French citizenry supported marriage equality. Left out that inconvenient fact, I see. Also, where’s the mention of the spate of violence directed at gays by opponents of gay marriage, the calls to violence and civil war by leaders of the opposition, or the archbishop of Paris’ tolerance for such violent reactions as expressed in the spring bishop’s meeting? If you want to present the issues in France fairly, it seems important that you mention that the side you support is full of violent degenerates.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I haven’t tracked the polls, but I think that particular number was a high water mark that has fallen considerably, down to around 50% or less, depending on the poll. The question concerning using assisted technology (farming women’s bodies for eggs and using them as surrogates, among other things — I’m going to address the inherent misogyny in that later) had, in the last poll I saw, fallen to well below 50%. Since it was voted on as a package, anyone with brains would have to take the lower number.

      That gives a good example of why governing by the polls — which is what you seem to be advocating — is bad governance. Polls only reflect passing moods in the electorate. Laws have to stand up a bit longer than that.

      I haven’t read any of the calls to violence by the Archbishop and frankly, I don’t believe you are accurate about this.

      None of that would in any way even address my contention that the French government has damaged its own country with this vote by creating civil unrest and by forcing an issue that did not need to be forced. Marches of protest that generate over a million participants are significant in any country. As another commenter pointed out, in a country that has a population only slightly larger than some of America’s larger states, it is way past significant. Ignoring this and forcing this vote was flat-out stupidly arrogant and extremely poor governance.

    • SteveP

      Nice job, Ashley, conflating an opinion poll with a vote!

      Take a look at the text, especially the dates, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacte_civil_de_solidarit%C3%A9

      If you want to present the issues in France fairly, it is important to note that the vote jammed through adds no new legal rights for those who self-identify as “gay.”

  • Bill S

    Violent opposition to same sex marriage is rooted in hatred and should be condemned by everyone. It is difficult to estimate how much of the opposition is just hate packaged as concern for the definition of marriage. You really can’t determine what is inside people’s hearts. I think they have more hatred for gays and lesbians than they are willing to admit.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Which fits, because the gays and lesbians show hatred for heterosexuals with every protest.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        There are attempts on both sides of this argument about how to define marriage to cast the worst actors of the other side as being representative of the whole group. This is an entirely inaccurate and rather malicious thing to do. Homosexuals are not hate-filled, mean people. They are just like the rest of us. Some of them are jerks, others could probably qualify as living saints while most are in-between these extremes. Homosexuals are human beings; lovable, wonderful human beings.

        • Theodore Seeber

          I used to believe so. The last 10 years have proved to me that there can be no gay marriage without violence, that homosexuality has violence replacing love intrinsically.

          There have been far too many attacks for it to be otherwise.

  • Bill S

    You can’t have it both ways. Gays and lesbians are either decent people who should be free to live their lives according to their own consciences or they are perverts and shouldn’t be allowed to have the freedom to have their lifestyle validated through marriage. You are either with them or against them. There is no redeeming value in being patronizing.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, of course homosexual people have the right to live by the lights of their own consciences. That is not in question. However, a “right” to change the definition of marriage does not exist for anyone. That is nonsense. The question which society is in the process of discussing is whether or not to do this.

      I do not think this is a good idea. In fact, I think it is a bad idea. That doesn’t mean that I am patronizing people when I say that they are honest and decent.

      My question to you is why you don’t come out and live by the light of your conscience instead of burdening yourself with a life of lies?

  • Bill S

    “My question to you is why you don’t come out and live by the light of your conscience instead of burdening yourself with a life of lies?”

    Since my research led me to the realization that there is no such thing as God or anything supernatural I have been stuck in a lie. I don’t know why more people can’t see what I see.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Could it be because what you think you see, is only an illusion?

  • Bill S

    “Could it be because what you think you see, is only an illusion?”

    I don’t think so, Ted. I think the illusion is the whole concept of the supernatural.