• 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
Réunion's plane debris to be probed in France
Policeman and gendarmes with the piece of unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion. Photo: AFP

Réunion's plane debris to be probed in France

UPDATED: Plane wreckage that washed up on a tiny Indian Ocean island will be sent to France for investigation, as hopes mounted Thursday the mysterious object could unlock the riddle of missing flight MH370. READ  

Migrant dies in botched Eurotunnel crossing
Ten migrants have died at the Calais post in the past two months. Photo: AFP

Migrant dies in botched Eurotunnel crossing

French authorities said on Thursday that a migrant had died from head injuries suffered in a weekend attempt to cross the Channel into England, bringing the number of such deaths to ten since June. READ  

France's Réunion braces for volcano eruption
‘The Peak of the Furnace’ has been spewing out more gases than usual. Photo: Richard Bouhet /AFP

France's Réunion braces for volcano eruption

Le Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes in the world and a main tourist attraction on the Réunion island, was evacuated Thursday as authorities warned of an imminent eruption. READ  

Ten things you didn't know about gay Paris
Do you know where to find penis-shaped bakery goods in Paris? Photo: Legay Choc/Facebook

Ten things you didn't know about gay Paris

There's a lot more to the gay scene in Paris than just the Marais - so we asked the experts at The Gay Locals to come up with a list of ten things you probably didn't know about Gay Paris. READ  

French mayor 'to force artists to mind kids'
The National Front mayor in Fréjus doesn’t feel the town hasn’t received enough in return from the artists. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/ AFP

French mayor 'to force artists to mind kids'

A far-right mayor in the southern town of Fréjus is allegedly considering making a group of local artists mind children in exchange for the rent subsidies they receive. READ  

British press bashes France over Calais crisis
The British press is blaming France for the situation in Calais. Photo: Philippe Huguen/ AFP

British press bashes France over Calais crisis

British tabloids combined two of their favourite themes in covering the Calais migrants controversy Thursday -- French bashing and railing against the government response to illegal immigration. READ  

French nuclear giant Areva to sell unit to EDF
The headquarters of the French nuclear group Areva in La Defense near ParisPhoto: AFP

French nuclear giant Areva to sell unit to EDF

Atomic energy giant Areva on Thursday agreed to sell a majority stake of its nuclear reactor unit to electricity group EDF as part of an awaited reconfiguration of the French sector. READ  

Ex-Sarkozy advisor charged in fraud probe
French former President Nicolas Sarkozy and Patrick Buisson. Photo: AFP

Ex-Sarkozy advisor charged in fraud probe

A one-time advisor to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was charged on Wednesday with abusing his position to profit from state funds, as part of an inquiry into alleged fraud in awarding contracts to opinion polling companies. READ  

French far right wants Le Pen senior gone
Jean-Marie Le Pen. Photo: AFP

French far right wants Le Pen senior gone

An overwhelming 94 percent of France's National Front (FN) members have voted in favour of stripping ex-leader Jean-Marie Le Pen of his title of honorary president, the far-right party announced Wednesday. READ  

France eyes boost to holiday leave rights
People enjoy the sun by the seaside on a beach in the French Mediterranean resort of Argeles-sur-Mer, southern France. Photo: AFP

France eyes boost to holiday leave rights

Most new employees at French firms have to work for at least a year before they can take paid holidays but that could be about to change if one group of MPs have their way. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Learn more about the Bayonne festival - France's wildest party
Features
What's on in France: Ten things to do in August
Features
What to see and do at the Paris Plages this summer
Saudi royals 'bar' French policewomen from beach
Take a closer look at the 560,000-year-old tooth found in France
National
Swiss army pilfers French water to give to thirsty cows
National
'B**ch' and 'brainless': French shop slurs clients
Travel
French cops rebel over order to give kids sweets
National
New measures to stop migrant deaths in Calais
Travel
Here are some of the most ridiculous comments you'll read about France
Features
Life may be about to get easier for expats settling in France
National
Burning tyres and blocking roads is just the way the French do strikes
National
Muslim tourists visiting French Alps are reminded of burqa ban
Opinion
Slim and chic: Are French women fed up of the stereotypes?
French officials defend handing public beach over to Saudi royals
Society
French kiss: Should expats in France do 'la bise' among themselves?
National
Paris commuters and tourists face summer of travel trouble
This man learnt the entire French vocabulary in nine weeks, but why?
French speed cameras snare tens of thousands of British drivers
Gallery
What kind of expat in France are you: A lover or a loather?
Society
French tweeters reveal the trials and tribulations of #GrowingupFrench
Where to find the best (and worst) quality of life in France
National
Riviera rumpus as Saudi royals grab public beach all for themselves
What we know about France's foiled terror plot
Features
Here are ten places in Paris where you can escape the summer heat
National
Coup d'état fails in France after being snubbed by military
Are shoppers in northern France the most honest in the world?
French woman fined €90 for driving in flip-flops
Cyclists in Paris get the green light to jump red
'Adieu France': Angry mum's parting rant goes viral
Franco-German rift opens over Greece and it could take time to heal
The Megavalanche: The most spectacular cycling event in France
Ex-French PM's daughter creates a buzz by going topless for photo shoot
Could Parisians be bathing in the Seine by 2024?
Paris unveils new mobile app to help non-French speakers
France declares war on public transport sex pests
So where's the best place to live in France if you want to be happy?
Opinion
Paris: The City of Light, Romance, Style and the worst loos in Europe?
National
Eight ways living in France will change your lifestyle for good
International
Why French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Ten ideas that could improve the quality of life in Paris
National
Rules for taking selfies at the Eiffel Tower: No.1 Keep your clothes on
National
Paris's trendy Canal Saint-Martin is now more tip than hip
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

3,605
jobs available