On eve of debate, gay marriage supporters rally in Paris
BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Two weeks after thousands of gay marriage opponents took to the streets of Paris, those who support French president Francois Hollande's push to legalize same-sex marriage took to the streets of Paris in numbers as the French parliament gets ready to debate the measure tomorrow (Jan 29).
Police estimate Sunday's pro-gay marriage turnout at 125,000, while the demonstration's organizers put their tally closer to 400,000. On Jan 13, police estimated that 340,000 gay marriage opponents were out on streets, as part of several mass marches they have held in several French cities.
A France24 report quotes Inter-LGBT association's Nicolas Gougain as saying "we’re not demonstrating in response to our opposition. We’ve been demonstrating for 10 years already."
France24 cites an interview carried in the weekly Journal du Dimanche in which French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira reportedly described the gay marriage bill as a bid to address “a situation of flagrant inequality.”
"The conditions of marriage will go unchanged; nothing will change for heterosexual couples,” Taubira says, as she acknowledged the intense opposition to the measure among Catholics, as well as conservative politicians and groups. “This bill will protect all families. It will protect children’s rights,” she is quoted as saying, noting that thousands of children now "live in homo-parental families in France, but lack the same security as their hetero-parental peers."
Despite opposition, France24 says a new poll suggests that support for gay marriage and adoption rights has actually risen. “Following the demonstration on January 13 we expected less people to back [it],” Jerome Fourquet of the polling agency, Ifop, says. “But our findings show the opposite. Support for the plan is increasing – particularly on the left.”
The ruling Socialist government also has the numbers both houses of parliament to ensure the measure passes.
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