Hundreds of thousands of people marched through the streets of Paris on Sunday to protest a new gay marriage bill that the will be voted on this April. This most recent protest is thought to be a “last ditch effort” to prevent the bill from going through the French Senate.
Though majority of the protest was peaceful, riot police were deployed to ensure the march remained under control. They used tear gas to prevent the marchers from flooding into the Champs Elysees, which had been blocked off earlier. The crowds, comprised mostly of youths, grew more volatile and agitated as the protest continued. Some protestors were able to break through police barricades en route to the presidential Elysee Palace, and had to be physically forced back by police.
Polling data indicates that support for the gay marriage bill has been shrinking in the last several months. Though about 60% of French citizens support gay marriage, that number that supports gay adoption is lower. Under current law, individuals are able to adopt children regardless of sexual orientation. The bill has already passed in the lower parliamentary house. It is stirring up controversy because it has a clause that would allow gay couples to adopt children.
Though gay marriage is already legal in several other European countries, anti-gay proponents believe that the acceptance of gay marriage and adoption by gay couples would threaten France’s strong traditional Catholic history.
The rhetoric is familiar. Many insist that gay parents would cause “psychological and social problems” in their children. Another commonly used argument is that without both a mother and a father, a child will “lack something fundamental for his upbringing”. A similar protest held in January in response to a bill that would permit homosexual couples to use artificial insemination methods drew over 300,000 supporters from across the country.
Original Author: Monica Sharma