• France's news in English
 

Gay Paris braced for anti-gay marriage march

Published: 11 Jan 2013 17:06 GMT+01:00

The rally is set to be one of the biggest demos in the French capital in decades.

Protesters are aiming to persuade French President François Hollande and his socialist government to drop plans to legalise gay marriage and open up adoption for homosexual couples.

The march, dubbed “Le Manif pour Tous” (Demo for everyone) is being led by a pro-gay comic who goes by the stage name of Frigide Barjot and is set to bring together a broad coalition of groups opposed to same-sex marriage, including certain gay-rights organisations.

Xavier Bongibault, from the group Plus Gay Sans Mariage (More gay without marriage), one of the main organisers of the event, told The Local the institution of marriage should be reserved for a man and woman.

“In France marriage is not a contract about love: it is a contract that creates the framework for the protection of children. I believe a child must have a mother and father,” Bongibault said.

“Everyone has the right to get married. I am homosexual but if I wanted to get married I could find a woman. Marriage has certain conditions, the main one of which is that it has to be between a man and woman.”

Bongibault admits his position has raised a few eyebrows among other members of the French capital’s gay community but like many of the protesters expected to show up on Sunday he insists opposing gay marriage does not make people anti-gay.

“There will be no homophobic people marching on Sunday. I would never walk next to a homophobic person,” he said.

GALLERY: FRENCH RALLY AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE IN PICTURES

"Government can still change its mind"

Legalising same-sex marriage was one of Hollande’s pre-election pledges and the government has vowed to press ahead with its plans to push the bill through parliament despite Sunday’s show of discontent.

“It’s not too late,” a defiant Bongibault said. “If there are enough people on the streets the government could change its position.”

Around 900 special buses and five trains are being laid on to bring demonstrators from across the country into Paris and around 40 French nationals are expected to make the journey from London to add their voices to protest.

One of those due to cross the Channel is Damien Fournier Montgieux.

“If we do nothing now then we cannot complain if the law is passed,” he told The Local. “We do not want same-sex marriage in French society.”

Organisers have been reluctant to put an estimate on the potential turn-out but it expected to be in the hundreds of thousands.

The first Manif pour Tous demonstration against gay marriage in November drew 100,000 protesters.

Catholic group to hold rival rally

Sunday’s rally will see three separate processions converging on the Champs-de-Mars near the Eiffel Tower from their starting points at Porte Maillot, Place d’Italie and Denfert Rochereau. Marchers have been asked to come dressed in blue, white and pink.

A rival demonstration against gay-marriage will also be staged in Paris by the right-wing Catholic organisation Civitas, which has refused to join forces with Manif pour Tous whom it accuses of ‘normalising’ homosexuality.

France’s religious leaders from the Jewish and Muslim communities have said they will not be taking part. Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, head of the Catholic Church here, has said he will go to greet protesters but not take part in the march himself.  

There will also be similar marches in cities across France and a sister rally has even been organised for London, where around 100 people are expected to show up in-front of the French embassy.

Organiser Morgane De Salvage told The Local it was important for French people in London, who were unable to travel to Paris, to send a message to the government back home.

“Most French people living in London will be unable to get to Paris but they want to show their concern regarding the government bill,” De Salvage said.

“We want to defend marriage and the right for children to grow up with a mum and a dad.”

According to Reuters support for gay marriage in France has fallen from around 65 percent to the mid to low 50s in the latest polls, while the number of those backing adoption rights has slid below 50 percent.

But the opinion polls and Sunday’s mass demonstrations do not worry some members of France’s gay community.

“I have no doubt the law will be passed,” Nicolas Gougain, from the gay-rights group Inter LGBT told The Local. “Obviously there will be a lot of people of Sunday but I am quite calm.

“We too are ready to mobilise in support of the bill.”

Inter LGBT will be one of a number of gay-rights groups who are set to take part in a pro-gay marriage rally on January 27, two days before the French parliament is due to debate the bill.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

2013-02-10 04:32:23 by ron1amr
I don't understand why there will be a protest particularly amongst gay people. Who really cares? This protest is assuming same sex couples plan to adopt. These people particularly gay protesters are against this marriage then why don't they partner opposite sex? If the real issue is same sex parenting how many bad parents are there really from mothers and fathers? If a gay person is concerned that it is not right to bring up a child of same sex parents then surely they must also think it is not right for them to be gay. They may feel a child may be influenced by their behaviour. But I think it is your genetic makeup that determines your sexual preference.
2013-02-18 23:59:14 by Ulvenkai
What nonsense. Equal rights should be for all and people should be treated as individuals; as people and not a penis or a pair of boobs.

The fact that there are "gay activists" who are anti-marriage says a lot about how easily the vulnerable are brainwashed by religion, peer-pressure and conservative nutjobbery.
2013-04-10 18:46:19 by Derek Williams
The argument that the institution of marriage is predicated solely for the care of children would deny it to any couple, straight or gay, who for biological reasons such as infertility (e.g. post-menopausal age) cannot have children, as well as to couples who choose not to have any.

It also creates a dichotomy between straight and gay adoptive couples, affirming to the children being raised by the gay couple that their parents, not chosen by them, are nevertheless publicy deemed worthy of less respect than the straight couple who originally conceived them, possibly by accident, but then abandoned them.

There is not a question in my mind but that marriage is a public commitment to love and fidelity, bringing with it a social status that ought not to be denied to anyone on such irrationally discriminatory grounds as the fertility of those entering into it.
Today's headlines
No Euro hangover as PSG hit Lille for six
Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

No Euro hangover as PSG hit Lille for six

Paris Saint-Germain quickly got back on track after their Champions League loss to Barcelona as Ezequiel Lavezzi netted a hat-trick in a resounding 6-1 win over Lille at the Parc des Princes on Saturday. READ  

French tip leads to massive UK cocaine haul
Photo: Abby Gadd/MOD

French tip leads to massive UK cocaine haul

Over two tonnes of cocaine were seized off the coast of Scotland on Sunday in an operation involving French and British officials. READ  

French icon Juliette Greco begins final tour
Photo: Guillaume Souvant/AFP

French icon Juliette Greco begins final tour

As she embarks on the last tour of a more than six-decade career that began in post-war Paris, iconic French singer Juliette Greco had some parting advice for young performers: "Learn to say no." READ  

France opens probe into Qatar forced labour
Vinci and its QDVC subsidiary are facing a suit alleging forced labour in Qatar. Photo: AFP

France opens probe into Qatar forced labour

French prosecutors said Saturday they had opened a preliminary probe into a lobby group's claims that construction giant Vinci is using forced labour on building projects for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. READ  

Foiled Paris Church Attack
Thwarted French jihadist faces terror charges
The suspect is still being treated in a hospital in Paris. Photo: AFP

Thwarted French jihadist faces terror charges

An Algerian jihadist sympathiser arrested in connection with a thwarted attack on a church in France was charged with terror-related murder Friday after five days of police questioning. READ  

French recycling rates slammed as 'disastrous'
The "Triman" recycling logo next to trash containers in Paris. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

French recycling rates slammed as 'disastrous'

Less than a quarter of household waste in France is recycled according to a report this week, a statistic that a French consumer watchdog has described as “disastrous” and well below that of the country's European neighbours. READ  

Putin calls on Hollande to mend ties to help trade
Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande arrive into the Genocide memorial, on April 24, 2015 in Yerevan. Photo: AFP

Putin calls on Hollande to mend ties to help trade

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his French counterpart François Hollande to restore ties that have been undermined by tension over Ukraine. For his part Hollande told Puting to ensure there the peace accords were implemented. READ  

French may be enforced on all flights to Canada

French may be enforced on all flights to Canada

It could soon become obligatory for all airlines serving Canada to ensure French speakers are among the crew and announcements are made in both French and English. The move was inspired by a row on an Air Canada flight over a can of lemonade. READ  

Foiled Paris church attack
Foiled terror suspect 'controlled' from Syria
Sid Ahmed Ghlam, who is suspected of planning a Charlie Hebdo style attack on churches in Paris. Photo: Screengrab iTele

Foiled terror suspect 'controlled' from Syria

The student suspected of planning to launch a terror attack on churches in Paris was to appear before judges on Friday as police become convinced he was "controlled remotely by mysterious men" probably in Syria. READ  

French prof suspended for 'defending Hitler'
The teacher allegedly told students Hitler was a "good man". Photo of a classroom: Shutterstock

French prof suspended for 'defending Hitler'

A teacher at a high school in central France has been temporarily suspended after her pupils reported her to education chiefs for allegedly repeatedly defending Adolf Hitler during German lessons. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How to disguise the fact you are clearly not French
France desperately hunts for church terror plot accomplices
Can France really protect 4,500 churches around the country?
WARNING - When in France use first names with caution
So what does the world's oldest bubbly taste like?
British expats left in lurch by NHS clampdown
Tossing cigarette butts in Paris to prompt €68 fines
Culture
Cannes Film Festival reveals jury
Flamanville: France's nuclear 'calamity' that has the UK worried
Features
Forget the Mona Lisa, here's the weirdest objects you can see around Paris
For many Britons 'Waterloo' is just an Abba song or a train station
IN PICTURES: See the French ship 'Hermione' set sail again for the US
Opinion
Is it time the French scrapped tu and vous?
National
Sexual harassment rife on Paris trains
National
Marine Le Pen makes Time 'most influential' list
Cannes Film Festival line-up revealed
National
Cartoonist's book slams 'Islamophobia swindlers'
National
More French women than men lured by Isis
Society
Les Entrepreneurs: We chat with the founder of Paris Picnic
National
Edith Piaf celebrated at Parisian exhibit
How the health reforms will change life in France
Gallery
Naked protests: The French love to take their clothes off to make a point
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Then and now - the site of the Alps plane crash
Travel
So why would anyone really want to live in Lille?
Opinion
Why the French should be very worried about new spying powers
National
Spain's newest export to France: Vultures
Did a row over stolen veg lead to the murder of a British expat in France?
VIDEO: French rail chiefs SNCF furious after the Paris-Roubaix race
Sport
What the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris would look like
Culture
IN PICS: Take a look inside France's new 36,000 year-old tourist site
International
Did the Pope reject France's envoy to the Vatican because he was gay?
Cyberjihad: Hacking of French TV channel was 'a step up'
Politics
PROFILE: Jean-Marie Le Pen - France's far-right master provocateur
National
France's fatigued 'anti-terror' police resort to calling sick
National
Dipping baguette in a bowl of coffee! - French habits foreigners don't get
Strike latest: Scores of flights cancelled in France
Features
New Calais migrant camp 'the worst in Europe'
Society
ASK THE EXPERTS: So why are the French always on strike?
National
French air traffic control strike: Tourists face travel chaos
Culture
Which stars will land an invite to the Cannes Film Festival?
Technology
Paris holds film festival for blind cinema goers
National
Paris wants to triple its number of cyclists by 2020
National
Readers tell us of the joys of living in France's 'expat no-go zones'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se