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.)

BBC Video of Paris March for Marriage

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French Official Says ‘No’ to 800,000 Marchers, Will Push Ahead with Gay Marriage

Supporters estimate 1 million.

Official estimates range as high as “at least 800,000.”

That’s how many people showed up to support marriage in Paris Sunday. They came from all over the country, and they engaged in a peaceful march through  the streets of Paris carrying signs that made it clear they were not attacking gay people, but supporting marriage. 

The reason for this protest was a proposed law that would re-write the French legal definition of marriage, changing it from one man and one woman to Parent 1, Parent 2. 

The government response was much the same as what Americans are becoming accustomed to: “Harlem Desir, the leader of Hollande’s Socialist Party, said the protest would not affect the proposal’s progress.”

The question is whether enough other French lawmakers are willing to follow along. Despite the usual characterizations of the marchers as homophobic pawns of “the right,” the march brought a lot of elements of French society together on one question. Does the government really want to go in your face with all of them? 

Excerpts from the Miami Herald article describing these events say: 

Holding aloft ancient flags and young children, hundreds of thousands of people converged Sunday on the Eiffel Tower to protest the French president’s plan to legalize gay marriage and thus allow same-sex couples to adopt and conceive children.

The opposition to President Francois Hollande’s plan has underscored divisions among the secular-but-Catholic French, especially more traditional rural areas versus urban enclaves. But while polls show the majority of French still support legalizing gay marriage, that backing gets more lukewarm when children come into play …

… “This law is going to lead to a change of civilization that we don’t want,” said Philippe Javaloyes, a literature teacher who bused in with 300 people from Franche Comte in the far east. “We have nothing against different ways of living, but we think that a child must grow up with a mother and a father.”

Public opposition spearheaded by religious leaders has chipped away at the popularity of Hollande’s plan in recent months. About 52 percent of French favor legalizing gay marriage, according to a survey released Sunday, down from as high as 65 percent in August …

… “They’re talking about putting into national identity cards Parent 1, Parent 2, Parent 3, Parent 4. Mom, dad and the kids are going to be wiped off the map, and that’s going to be bad for any country, any civilization,” said Melissa Michel, a Franco-American mother of five who was among a group from the south of France on a train reserved specifically for the protest.

Support for gay marriage – and especially adoption by same-sex couples – has been particularly tenuous outside Paris, and people from hundreds of miles from the French capital marched Sunday beneath regional flags with emblems dating back to the Middle Ages, chanting “Daddy, Mommy.” …

… Harlem Desir, the leader of Hollande’s Socialist Party, said the protest would not affect the proposal’s progress. The Socialists control Parliament, where the bill is expected to be introduced on Tuesday, with a vote following public debate at the end of January.

“The right to protest is protected in our country, but the Socialists are determined to give the legal right to marry and adopt to all those who love each other,” he said. “This is the first time in decades in our country that the right and the extreme right are coming into the streets together to deny new rights to the French.” (Read more here.) 

Deacon Greg Kandra and Frank Weathers have also blogged about the Paris march for marriage. 

 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/13/3180337/thousands-rally-against-gay-marriage.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/13/3180337/thousands-rally-against-gay-marriage.html#storylink=c

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/13/3180337/thousands-rally-against-gay-marriage.html#storylink=cpy

Hundreds of Thousands Expected at Paris Rally for Marriage

Paris, France, Jan 9, 2013 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Supporters of traditional marriage expect hundreds of thousands of marchers to turn out for an upcoming national rally in opposition to President Francois Hollande’s “marriage for all” proposal.

Set to go before France’s parliament Jan. 29, the draft law proposes to redefine marriage as a union “contracted between two persons of different sex or of the same sex.”

The law would also allow “married” same-sex couples to adopt children while also replacing gender definitive titles such as “Mother” or “Father” with “Parent 1” and “Parent 2.”

Some opponents of the proposal say doing so would strip society of sexual differences and would create framework for a “new anthropological order” based on sexual preference rather than unique “sexual otherness.” Opponents also say the move would deny children the biological right of having a mother and father, and that the proposal should have been presented as a referendum to the people.

“La Manif Pour Tous” or “March For All,” a demonstration organized by French satirist Frigide Barjot – whose real name is Virginie Télenne – drew tens of thousands of supporters in the regional demonstrations held throughout France in November and December.

A modest estimate for the first national rally to be held Jan. 13 is projected to draw some 350,000 supporters, one of the organizers, Lionel Lumbroso, told CNA Jan. 4.

“The bigger we are, the more difficult it will be for the government to ignore us,” he said.

Although the “vast majority of the base is Catholic” and founder Frigide Barjot is a Catholic re-convert, Lumbroso said that the movement represents a much greater diversity of the French people because people of different faiths and political beliefs are coming together for a common goal. (Read more here.)


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