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Hundreds of thousands protest French marriage equality, adoption bill

Sunday, March 24, 2013

PARIS — Paris riot police fought back crowds who pushed their way onto Paris’ landmark Champs-Elysees avenue as part of a huge protest against a draft law allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

Hundreds of thousands of people – conservative activists, children, retirees, priests – converged on the capital Sunday in a last-ditch bid to stop the bill, many bused in from the French provinces.

Anti gay marriage and gay adoption protestors demonstrate, in Paris, Sunday, March 24, 2013.
Photos: Thibault Camus, AP

The lower house of France’s parliament approved the “marriage for everyone” bill last month with a large majority, and it’s facing a vote in the Senate next month. Both houses are dominated by French President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party and its allies.

Sustained protests led by opposition conservatives in this traditionally Catholic country have eroded support for the draft law in recent months, and organizers hope Sunday’s march will weigh on the Senate debate.

The first few hours of the protest were peaceful. But as it was meant to be winding down, about 100 youths tried to push past police barricades onto the Champs-Elysees, the avenue that cuts through central Paris and draws throngs of tourists daily. In an indication of the sensitivity of the issue, protesters had been barred from marching on the Champs.

Protestors clash with riot police officers during an anti gay marriage and gay adoption demonstration, in Paris, Sunday, March. 24, 2013.
Photos: Thibault Camus, AP

Police officers wrangled with the youths and then fired tear gas to force them back. Gaining momentum, more and more protesters took side streets to reach the avenue, blocking a key intersection on the route to the president’s Elysee Palace.

Police fired more tear gas but were unable to block the crowds from spilling onto the avenue.

“Hollande, Resignation!” the protestors chanted, before breaking into the French anthem, “La Marseillaise.”

The demonstrations have become outlets for anger and disappointment in Hollande’s presidency.

An official with the Paris police headquarters said two people were arrested and no injuries were reported. The police offici al was not authorized to be publicly named in accordance with police policy.

The official estimated that 300,000 people took part in Sunday’s march, slightly less than a similar march in January. Organizers estimated more than 1.2 million people took part in Sunday’s march, more than in the January protest.

Polls indicate a shrinking majority of French voters back gay marriage, which is legal in about a dozen mostly European nations and some U.S. states. But polls show French voters are less enthusiastic about adoption by same-sex couples.

Frigide Barjot, the stage name of an activist who has led protests against the bill, insisted the anti-gay marriage movement wasn’t a lost cause. “It’s the second round, sir. It’s not the last battle.”

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26 more reader comments:

  1. Oh, whatever!

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 10:55am
  2. Le Pen is at it again.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 10:55am
  3. the french know how to riot.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 10:56am
  4. The French will protest anything.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 10:56am
  5. Frack you! We won.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:00am
  6. the French really will protest anything…

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:00am
  7. Well, from what I understand there are counterparts of N.O.M working with groups with similar hatred against same sex marriage and adoption in different countries. Apparently they are getting their asses kicked at home so they have resorted to poking their noses into other countries wars on marriage equality.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:02am
  8. oh pahleese….now the europeans are getting stupid too? well, not me!

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:04am
  9. At a time when kids needs loving parents, these creeps would use their religion to prevent kids from growing up in a loving household.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:06am
  10. I thought that Europe was a lot more progressive than the U.S.????? What happened?

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:10am
  11. Apparently not!

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:15am
  12. France is more Catholic than people realize, and the religious have been whipped into a frenzy over the years by some conservative elements. A lot of it revolves around Islam, but hey – they’re happy to bash the gays while they’re at it.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:19am
  13. When is FB going to give us an “unlike” button?

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:20am
  14. Lets allow unwanted children to rot in orphanages while some French assholes prevent loving same-sex couples from adopting them.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:21am
  15. Most French Citizens are assholes… It’s a me me me mentality.. Deson’t surprise me.. Selfish pricks.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:22am
  16. They used to be forward thinking. France was very open to gays at one point.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:25am
  17. France is a very selfish place. It’s not surprising to me…For a country that is shrouded in the thoughts of love and lights…it’s very ironic to hear this.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:29am
  18. oh well once the dust settles they will go about their business. what do you think will happen on the 26th is the supreme court over turns DADT and prop 8, there will be lots of protests here for a while then all those protesting will go back home to wait for their government support checks.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:36am
  19. @Brett Taylor- Trust! By the way sir, upon viewing the pics you have available, you should be up for an awesome beard award! You remind me a bit of 1 of my Metal Gods- Rob Halford.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:52am
  20. Now THAT’S the issue?!

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 11:52am
  21. Let them protest and embrace their bigotry as much as they want. They lost when their bigoted allies in the French parliament lost in last year’s elections. This is a done deal, no matter how much the media is trying to spin it to make it seem more interesting than it is.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 12:06pm
  22. The thing to do with the Catholic Church is indict, bankrupt, and then get rid of it.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 12:26pm
  23. france sucks-it always has.stupid wannabes who expect everyone to speak french….plus they are pigs!

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 12:33pm
  24. City of love…ha ha ha

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 12:58pm
  25. We wouldn’t want OUR country to be assumed to hold the values of Fred Phelps & N.O.M.- stop & think.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 2:30pm
  26. Probably bussed in by rightwing groups from all over Europe.

    Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 2:31pm