French Catholics march against same-sex marriage

PARIS Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:57pm EST

1 of 6. Opponents of same-sex marriage demonstrate against the government's draft law to legalise marriage and adoption for same-sex couples in Paris, November 18, 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. The placard reads 'No to Homosexual marriages'.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - More than 100,000 protesters organized by Catholic groups staged separate demonstrations in French cities over the weekend to protest against government plans to legalize same-sex marriage next year.

Most of them took to the streets on Saturday, backed by the French Catholic Church and joined by several senior clerics, and several thousand more paraded with ultra-traditionalist Catholics in Paris on Sunday.

Though marching separately, they chanted the same slogan - "one father + one mother for all children" - and denounced the Socialist government's plan. Polls show about 60 percent support for the reform, but not the right for gay people to adopt children.

"Shame on the president, who'll protect the infants?" chanted protesters on Sunday as they passed boutiques and gourmet food shops in the capital's chic seventh arrondissement.

In the daily Le Monde on Saturday, the heads of the Catholic, Muslim, Protestant and Jewish communities urged President Francois Hollande's government to allow more time for a public debate on what they said was a foundation of society.

In the same edition, a front-page editorial called the plan "a legitimate, necessary and progressive reform" and said it will have been amply debated in public by the time the bill has its first reading in parliament in January.

Also on Saturday, Pope Benedict encouraged French bishops visiting him in the Vatican to oppose the reform, saying "the Church's voice must make itself heard relentlessly and with determination".

Hollande made gay marriage one of his campaign promises and his government plans to legalize it by mid-2013. It will include adoption rights for gay couples, but not the option of assisted procreation methods such as artificial insemination.

CHILDREN

Alexandre and Emilie Philippe, a young Parisian couple marching on Sunday with two of their four small children, said they knew the law would eventually pass. "But we wanted to show our disapproval," he said.

Carrying a sign saying "One papa + one mama - what else?", she said: "We're doing this for our children. Their generation is the one that will be affected by this."

Initially caught off guard, the government has been hitting back at opponents of same-sex marriage. Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine said Saturday's turnout was "insignificant" and no better than the crowds that opposed civil unions in 1999.

The civil unions created back then were quickly accepted and their annual total is now approaching that of traditional marriages. Only 6 percent are undertaken by same-sex couples.

Organisers and police disagreed on the turnout. On Sunday, organisers estimated the Paris crowd at 18,000 and police at half that number.

On Saturday, organisers said 200,000 people demonstrated in the French capital, compared with a police estimate of 70,000. Thousands more marched in Lyon, Marseille and other major towns.

Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin joined the march there along with Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Grand Mosque of Lyon, and other Muslim leaders. Toulouse Archbishop Robert Le Gall marched with the protesters there on Saturday.

At Sunday's protest, Rev Regis de Cacqueray, head of the French district of the ultra-traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), marched with priests in long black cassocks and laymen waving flags of far-right Catholic and royalist groups.

Passing the law would make France the 12th country around the world to legalize same-sex marriage. It is already allowed in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden.

(Additional reporting by James Regan and Chine Labbé; Writing by Tom Heneghan; Editing by Alison Williams)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
ToTuffforYou wrote:
Nice to see that bigots can exist in a country that seems to think of themselves as forward thinking.

Nov 18, 2012 11:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
PapaDisco wrote:
Interesting that in the U.S., adoption by gay parents was allowed first, but gay marriage is still widely opposed, whereas in France it has 60% support but without support for the adoption of children.

The central point of marriage is to raise a family (whether naturally begotten or not) and once the adoption of children is accepted, then so (logically) should marriage. Neither country’s stance makes any logical sense.

Nov 18, 2012 11:39pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ConcernedJohn wrote:
Good reasons to oppose ssm:

1. It Is Not Marriage

Calling something marriage does not make it marriage. Marriage has always been a covenant between a man and a woman which is by its nature ordered toward the procreation and education of children and the unity and wellbeing of the spouses.

The promoters of same-sex “marriage” propose something entirely different. They propose the union between two men or two women. This denies the self-evident biological, physiological, and psychological differences between men and women which find their complementarity in marriage. It also denies the specific primary purpose of marriage: the perpetuation of the human race and the raising of children.

Two entirely different things cannot be considered the same thing.

2. It Violates Natural Law

Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It is a relationship rooted in human nature and thus governed by natural law.

Natural law’s most elementary precept is that “good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.” By his natural reason, man can perceive what is morally good or bad for him. Thus, he can know the end or purpose of each of his acts and how it is morally wrong to transform the means that help him accomplish an act into the act’s purpose.

Any situation which institutionalizes the circumvention of the purpose of the sexual act violates natural law and the objective norm of morality.

Being rooted in human nature, natural law is universal and immutable. It applies to the entire human race, equally. It commands and forbids consistently, everywhere and always. Saint Paul taught in the Epistle to the Romans that the natural law is inscribed on the heart of every man. (Rom. 2:14-15)

3. It Always Denies a Child Either a Father or a Mother

It is in the child’s best interests that he be raised under the influence of his natural father and mother. This rule is confirmed by the evident difficulties faced by the many children who are orphans or are raised by a single parent, a relative, or a foster parent.

The unfortunate situation of these children will be the norm for all children of a same-sex “marriage.” A child of a same-sex “marriage” will always be deprived of either his natural mother or father. He will necessarily be raised by one party who has no blood relationship with him. He will always be deprived of either a mother or a father role model.

Same-sex “marriage” ignores a child’s best interests.

Nov 20, 2012 3:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

A tourist takes a plunge as she swims at Ngapali Beach, a popular tourist site, in the Thandwe township of the Rakhine state, October 6, 2013. Picture taken October 6, 2013. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun (MYANMAR - Tags: SOCIETY) - RTR3FOI0

Where do you want to go?

We look at when to take trips, budget considerations and the popularity of multigenerational family travel.   Video