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Where’s the Love? 300,000 French Protest Gay Marriage and Adoption

Where’s the Love? 300,000 French Protest Gay Marriage and Adoption

Is French really the language of love?

Not if you happen to believe in marriage equality.

At least 300,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Paris, France on January 13, to protest the French president’s plan to legalize same-sex marriage and adoptions.

They traveled from all over France and gathered near the Eiffel Tower, chanting and waving flags and posters.

They presumably do not agree with President Obama, who in his second inaugural speech on January 21 declared: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

This is not exactly the image of France as a country of tolerance in matters of the heart: just take the President himself. François Hollande had four children with his partner of many years, fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal; that relationship ended in 2007, and his current partner is Valerie Trierweiler, a journalist. The President and his First Lady are not married. Can you imagine this happening in the U.S.?

So why the roadblock to marriage equality?

In France, a law legalizing civil unions was introduced in 1999. The PACS (pacte civil de solidarité) can be entered into by gay or straight couples and confers many but not all of the rights of marriage.

From CNN:

Extending the right to marry and adopt to same-sex couples was one of President Francois Hollande’s electoral pledges in campaigning last year.

After his win, the Cabinet approved a draft bill that is expected to go before the National Assembly and Senate soon. It is likely to be voted on in February or March. If passed, it would mark the biggest step forward for French gay rights advocates in more than a decade.

Understandably, the fierce opposition to the same-sex marriage plan has taken President Hollande by surprise. After all, other European countries such as Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark have given easy passage to same-sex marriage bills. In the U.S., nine states and Washington, D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage.

What’s going on in France?

From CNN:

In traditionally Catholic France, only a minority of citizens attend church regularly. But Catholic Church leaders have found a voice on this issue, as well as allies among some Muslims, evangelicals, far-right politicians and some gays opposed to the measure. It has united groups that have often been at odds.

The plan faces stiff opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and social conservatives.

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, voiced his opposition at a meeting of French bishops in Lourdes last year.

Opening up marriage to same-sex couples “would be a transformation of marriage that would affect everyone,” he said.

The main issue appears to revolve around children: even when they support same-sex civil unions, those protestors in Paris declaimed loudly that same-sex couples should not have the right to adopt or conceive children.

As AP reports, Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s veteran couturier, has also weighed in on the issue by sending two models down a catwalk wearing couture bridal gowns. At Paris’ Grand Palais fashion show on January 22, his two females models walked forward holding hands.

The Socialist Party controls Parliament, and therefore could probably ensure that same-sex marriage becomes law. However,  the plan’s opponents want a referendum; just like the opponents of gay marriage in the U.S., they are demanding a popular vote on this issue.

What do you think?

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Photo Credit: Hugo Passarello Luna

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136 comments

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6:27AM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

I'm not too familiar with French politics but I have to believe that this is the minority.

11:38AM PST on Feb 4, 2013

Open your minds, open your heart, and open your world. Love is love don't deny two people from wanting to celebrate their love. We should be encouraging more people who want to get married (since so many statistics are saying the divorce rate is equal or higher than the marriage rates) so just let people be happy. Happiness shared is happiness received. :o)

4:45PM PST on Jan 30, 2013

From one of the "gayest" countries in the world, I find this shocking.

10:47AM PST on Jan 29, 2013

It's a weird reaction. I can't remember the streets of Paris ever being this overcrowded by people objecting to Presidents and ministers and parlamentarians and celebs having a lover on the side. It's very common and public knowledge that married (heterosexual) public officials have a mistress. Some even acknoledge it in public, so that everyone can be envious of them. No protests there; catholics, muslims, et al?

6:19PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

Nicola T, I've sent you a green star for your comment here regarding our resident wanna be biblical scholar and homophobe, Christopher M. Apparently he has a direct line to, well, where ever, at least so far as anything on this topic is concerned. He doth protest too much, methinks.

6:07PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

Right, I'm just gonna write Christopher M. off as a troll who is on this site for all the wrong reasons, it would seem. I'm not going to bother wasting any more time on this, seeing as he acts solely interested in being here to bring in religious elements that I'm not quite sure how became an issue. He's comparing points he has collected on this site and can use for the benefit of other people, animals and nature in general, to a Pac Man game.

Also his love for writing a ridiculous amount of individual comments that spam my inbox is rather annoying, too.

I'm not usually this 'aggressive' in my comments, but I feel his crass language, and tone (read: lack of respect) in general, has deserved a sharp response.

Au revoir!

5:21PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

And for a so-called opponent of gay marriage I am quite flexible. The human law should allow gay marriage in a democracy because of things like "... the pursuit of happiness" and "the law serves everyone" and "being gay is like a disability, can't love the other gender, so the law is not accessible."

The only sticking point I believe in is that Christians be allowed to follow the Bible and discipline their offenders with expulsion from the church. This from the apostle Paul, who once said he would be all things to all people to save some. But gave no quarter on proper church behavior.

I think some of you really want to tell the church what to do.

5:18PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

OK, I know the Bible is contradictory on giving. But.... when you are caught between the stingy (employer) and the greedy (apartment), there is not much left for 10% pretax. I am not willing to go the Ramen route. Some do, for the Lord.

But I am aware of no contradiction regarding sex. Within a narrow definition, you may have sex (very narrow, and I think you know what it is, one man, one woman, one life unless there is adultery), and outside that narrow definition sex is defined as a sin. I know you don't like the Bible but there it is. And if you are RC, you can't even relieve yourself when necessary.

But I suppose you are going to do one of two things
1. The Bible is contradictory on a specific subject like giving, so I can have sex whenever I want
2. Some Christians take "cheerful giver" literally, so I can have sex whenever I want.
People will bend the Bible into a pretzel if they want sex bad enough.

4:31PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

I guess the Pope still has some pull...too bad.

3:58PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

Homophobia sucks.

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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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