Paris, France – Hundreds of thousands took to the streets of the French capitol today, opposing a bill presented by President Francois Hollande that makes provision to allow same-sex “marriage” in the country.
An estimated 340,000 citizens marched near the Eiffel Tower, many of which waved pink or blue flags that contained a graphic of a mother and father with two children. Other signs read, “marriagophile, not homophobe,” “all born of a father and mother” and “paternity, maternity, equality.”
According to reports, a number of the protesters traveled long distances, including by bus or train, to participate in the demonstration, which is said to be one of the largest rallies in the nation in many years. Approximately 900 buses transported citizens from across the country into Paris.
While poll numbers state that approximately 65 percent of Frenchman favor same-sex unions, the protest today painted a different scenario for some. Christian evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims and even homosexuals that opposed the bill were all part of the demonstration.
According to reports, many of France’s citizens are concerned about the implications of homosexual “marriage,” including adoption and assisted procreation. They state that the interest of protecting children trumps the desire of others to create their own version of marriage. Reuters notes that Frenchmen “defend their customs strongly and try to balance personal freedoms against what they think is best for society.”
“The French are tolerant, but they are deeply attached to the family and the defense of children,” Daniel Liechti, vice-president of the National Council of French Evangelicals, told reporters.
“This law is going to lead to a change of civilization that we don’t want,” said resident Philippe Javaloyes, a literary teacher in France. “[W]e think that a child must grow up with a mother and a father.”
As previously reported, Hollande has been considering enacting legislation that would ban the use of the terms “mother” and “father” in government documents in order to accommodate homosexuals in the country. Instead of using gender-specific words, the French government would simply use the term “parents” in order to be neutral. The drafted legislation also defines marriage as “a union of two people, of different or the same gender.”
Another bill, which permitted assisted procreation, has been tossed by Hollande’s cabinet. Socialists in the nation had demanded the right for homosexuals to have test tube babies just like heterosexual couples that struggle with infertility.
“On the issue of rights and freedoms, [we must] ensure that we set an example for the future regarding the law on marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, [that] there is also the right for medically assisted human procreation. This is the position of the party,” Harlem Désir, interim president of the Socialist Party, remarked in a statement in October of last year.
Since 1999, homosexuals have been allowed to enter into civil unions in France, but marriage has been limited to being solely between a man and a woman.