Sunday, January 13, 2013

Paris: 340,000 meet at Eiffel Tower to protest
same sex marriage

Carrying signs labeled "Paternity, Maternity, Equality" (a perversion of the French Revolutionary motto, "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality"), a crowd estimated by backers at 800,000 and by police at less than half that marched through France's capital today under the rubric of protecting children from being raised by same sex couples, despite the fact that the best modern social science studies indicate that children raised in households headed by same-sex couples do about as well, and, in the case of lesbian couples, often better, than kids raised by straight couples.
     An AP report from the City of Light:
     The protest march started at three points across Paris, filling boulevards throughout the city as demonstrators walked six kilometres to the grounds of France’s most recognizable monument. Paris police estimated the crowd at 340,000, making it one of the largest demonstrations in Paris since an education protest in 1984.
     “This law is going to lead to a change of civilization that we don’t want,” said Philippe Javaloyes, a literature teacher who bused in with 300 people from Franche Comte. “We have nothing against different ways of living, but we think that a child must grow up with a mother and a father.”
     Public opposition spearheaded by religious leaders has chipped away at the popularity of Hollande’s plan in recent months. About 52 per cent of French favour legalizing gay marriage, according to a survey released Sunday, down from as high as 65 per cent in August.
     French civil unions, allowed since 1999, are at least as popular among heterosexuals as among gay and lesbian couples. But that law has no provisions for adoption or assisted reproduction, which are at the heart of the latest debate.
A Reuters account from the Guardian:
Angelique Chrisafis is a Paris correspondent for The Guardian.
     Several hundred thousand people massed at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Sunday to protest against President Fran├žois Hollande's plan to legalise gay marriage and adoption by June.
     Three columns of protesters, waving pink and blue flags showing a father, mother and two children, converged on the landmark from different meeting points in Paris. Many came after long train and bus rides from the provinces.
     ..."Nobody expected this two or three months ago," said Frigide Barjot, a flamboyant comedian leading the "demo for all". At the rally, she read out a letter to Hollande asking him to withdraw the draft bill and hold an extended public debate on the issue.
Strongly backed by the Catholic church hierarchy, Barjot and groups working with her mobilised church-going families and political conservatives as well as some Muslims, evangelicals and even gay people opposed to gay marriage to protest.
     Hollande's office said the turnout was "substantial" but would not change his determination to pass the reform.
     "The French are tolerant, but they are deeply attached to the family and the defence of children," said Daniel Liechti, vice-president of the National Council of French Evangelicals, which urged its members to join the march.
     Opponents of gay marriage and adoption, including most faith leaders in France, have argued that the reform would create psychological and social problems for children, which they believe should trump the desire for equal rights for gay adults.
     ...Fewer than half of those polled recently wanted gay people to win adoption rights.     Under this pressure, legislators dropped a plan to also allow lesbians access to artificial insemination.
     Organisers insist they are not against gay and lesbian people but for the rights of children to have a father and mother.
     Slogans on the posters and banners approved by the organisers included "marriagophile, not homophobe" and "all born of a father and mother"...

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