The French Revolution, Part Deux

July-August 2013

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In recent months, France has seen what may well be the most powerful and prolonged public demonstrations in its history and certainly the largest on record in the past several decades. Believe it or not, the French, who are known for their laissez faire attitude toward sex, are protesting same-sex marriage and adoption. And the sitting socialist government is pulling out all the stops to crack down on what it sees as its ideological foes.

In January an estimated one million demonstrators stretched for half a mile in front of the Eiffel Tower in order to protest the so-called “marriage for all” law, which allows same-sex couples to marry in town halls and to adopt children. But this was no isolated event. A half dozen similar demonstrations were held across Paris, in addition to others held in cities throughout France, between November 2012 and May 2013. Marching under the banner of La Manif pour tous (“March for all”), protestors have rallied in Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Dijon, and a number of remote provincial towns and even abroad at French embassies — all united in protest against same-sex marriage. In fact, demonstrations, big or small, have taken place almost daily since the bill was introduced by Justice Minister Christiane Taubira last November. Some of the rallies have been spur-of the-moment flash mobs organized through cell phones and social media. But most have been well-orchestrated, high-profile affairs carried out with an admirable élan that American pro-family activist groups could learn from.

Despite the immense public discontent and the widespread opposition of elected officials, the “marriage for all” bill passed both houses of French Parliament, was approved by the French Constitutional Council, and ultimately signed into law by President François Hollande. On May 21, after months of heated debate, France became the ninth country in Europe, and the fourteenth in the world, to legalize same-sex marriage.

That, however, did not deter protestors, who again took to the streets of the nation’s capital on May 26, celebrated in France as Mother’s Day. The estimated 400,000 marchers let Hollande’s government know that they’ve not given up the fight.


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New Oxford Notes: July-August 2013

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