On Sunday, January 13, hundreds of thousands of French citizens demonstrated in defense of natural marriage at the Manif pour Tous march in Paris. The demonstration was motivated by the upcoming vote on a Socialist Party-sponsored bill that would legalize counterfeit marriage in France. The law is scheduled to come before the French Parliament on January 29. According to French political observers, the bill’s passage had been considered certain.
The urgency of the situation caused the organizers of the Marche Pour le Respect de la Vie, the Parisian sister march to the Walk for Life West Coast, to forgo this year’s march in defense of the unborn, scheduled for next Sunday, and instead to join the M. Cécile Edel, one of the lead organizers of the Marche Pour le Respect de la Vie, who explained the decision: “…the respect for life and respect for the family are part of a single struggle: an eschatalogical struggle, the battle of David against Goliath, of good against evil and fight for the values that we intend to defend. This is indeed the struggle for life in general.”
In a ploy familiar to American pro-lifers, parts of the mainstream media initially downplayed the number of attendees. APNews Now headed their story “thousands rally against gay marriage in France.” The Huffington Post referred to “some thousands” of demonstrators. France24 reported “tens of thousands” of demonstrators at the event. That is far below the estimate of the French police, who numbered the crowd at 350,000 or the estimate of organizers, which gave a number of 800,000. A good rule of thumb seems to be that when the mainstream media gives a number of “thousands” the correct number will be in the tens of thousands, and when they give a number of “tens of thousands” the correct number will be in the hundreds of thousands. As the hours passed on Sunday, and the magnitude of the event became impossible to ignore, more accurate figures were reported.
The Catholic Church in France expressed strong support. Prayer vigils for marriage and the family were held before the march. The president of the French bishops’ conference, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, attended the march.
The event was felt far beyond Paris. French expatriates in London demonstrated against the proposed legislation in front of the French embassy in Knightsbridge. In Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana in South America, which is an overseas department of France, protestors also took to the streets in defense of the family.
In opposition to the demonstration, four women took off their shirts in St. Peter’s Square in Rome as the Holy Father prayed the Angelus, in protest of his support of natural marriage. The Holy Father had sent a letter of support to the French marchers. A picture making the rounds on the internet shows an older lady hitting one of the shirtless women with her umbrella.
A number of same-sex attracted French citizens have come out against the legislation. Robert Lopez, writing at American Thinker, quoted a same-sex attracted mayor of a French village, (name given only as Jean-Marc) who said, “As a society we should not encouraging this. It’s not biologically natural. We [gays] do not have the fertility, in the sense of making a baby. We have plenty of other forms of fertility… Nobody can deny, I believe, that it’s best for a child to have a mother and a father who love each other as best they can.”
The same article also quoted a same-sex attracted man named Jean Pier: “I am a documentary author for TV and I’m homosexual. I have to wonder, “who’s this law for?” I say to myself, “Is it made for homosexuals?” I live in Provence and I work in Paris. I know very few homosexuals who wish to marry beyond the PACS (civil unions) they already have. In fact, the number of people in PACS unions in France, couples of the same sex, is minimal. Therefore, who’s this law for? If it’s for the 5,000 people who live in the district of Le Marrais, then it’s just a militant act. But behind it all, it must be a question of the child.”