Protests in French cities against plans to legalize gay marriage

Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:09pm EST

1 of 6. A man holds a sign which reads 'Homophobia kills' during a protest supporting a draft law to allow same-sex marriage in Lyon November 17, 2012. France's Socialist government approved a draft law to allow same-sex marriage, saying the reform, under fire from religious leaders and conservative politicians, meant progress for the whole society. The law would grant gay couples the right to adopt children but not to use assisted procreation methods such as artificial insemination. Parliament is due to vote on it by mid-2013.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Pratta

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PARIS (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people, joined by Catholic church leaders, marched in cities across France on Saturday to protest against government plans to legalize same-sex marriage.

Demonstrators, holding banners with slogans such as "don't touch civil marriage", "all born from the union of a man and a woman" and "one father + one mother for all children", took to the streets in Paris, Lyon, Marseille and other major towns.

The organization behind the protests, called "Demos for All" in imitation of the "marriage for all" call of gay-marriage campaigners, claims the Socialist government's reforms, which polls indicate have popular support, would threaten "major and dangerous upheaval".

The organizers said 200,000 people demonstrated in the French capital, compared with a police estimate of 70,000.

France's National Assembly is due to start examining the proposed law allowing same-sex marriage in January, with a vote expected in mid-2013. It would grant gay couples the right to adopt children but not to use assisted procreation methods.

Recent polls show the majority of French people support gay marriage, though not the right for homosexual couples to adopt.

France's top Catholic prelate, Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, earlier this month criticised the government for forging ahead with the plans at a time when the country faced urgent economic concerns.

Pope Benedict told French bishops visiting the Vatican on Saturday not to be "afraid" of spreading Christian teachings.

"In the important debates about society, the voice of the church must make itself heard relentlessly and with determination," he said.

The Vatican pledged this month never to stop fighting attempts to "erase" the privileged role of heterosexual marriage, which it called "an achievement of civilization".

Jean-Francois Cope, who is hoping to become leader of the opposition centre-right UMP party in an internal contest with ex-Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Sunday, sent a letter of support to the protesters.

While he said he would not join them, other elected UMP representatives and mayors were among demonstrators in Paris.

Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who has said marriage was defined at the very start of the Bible as created by God to join man and woman, was one of around 10,000 protesters in that city, according to figures from the organizers.

"I'm here like everyone else, like the Protestants, the Catholics, the Muslims, the philosophers, it's a message to politicians so that a debate is organized on such a fundamental issue," he said, adding that he had come as a "simple citizen".

The archbishop of Toulouse, Robert Le Gall, joined 10,000 there, according to organizers. Police said there were 5,000.

(Reporting by Thierry Chiarello, Lucien Libert, Gerard Bon and Tom Heneghan in Paris, Catherine Lagrange in Lyon; Writing by James Regan; editing by Jason Webb)

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Comments (8)
Free_Pacific wrote:
Marriage was not invented by the church. It has only been monpolised by the church in more recent human history. And as such, the Church has no authority to dictate it’s worn out tired ideas of the ‘ownership’ of marriage.

This issue, will erode support for the right wing and be one more nail in it’s coffin, unless people on the right wake up to the fact. Homosexual marriage is not about ‘YOU’, you do not have a ‘RIGHT’ to withold marriage from others who love eachother because of your narrow views. In countries where civil unions or so called ‘gay’ marriage are allowed, as an institution, it is more reliable and suffers less ‘divorce’ rate, than so called ‘traditional’ marriage. That says something about the level of thought put into the relationship, by the couples involved. As opposed to others who are ‘expected’ to marry due to ‘tradition’, who have high divorce rates. This say’s something about the realism and actual love, ‘homosexual’ couples hold for each other.

Nov 17, 2012 5:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ahms wrote:
Religious nuts trying to control the lives of others, even when they’ll never even meet/know of/be affected by them in anyway whatsoever??? I am shocked!

Nov 17, 2012 5:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ahms wrote:
I think Renox illustrates why more and more people are gradually accepting homosexual relationships and leaving the conservative viewpoints of it behind: his/her way of thinking about the issue is simply about sex. Love is about sticking your genitals together, and that’s it.

It’s not about developing a relationship, working together, supporting each other, and all the other great things about forging a connection with another human being. Nope, just sex, or AKA, inventing marriage back in the day to force people to procreate while treating the women as property.

Have fun in the past with the dinosaurs, Renox :)

Nov 17, 2012 8:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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