BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Two weeks after thousands of gay-marriage opponents took to the streets of Paris, those who support French President François Hollande's push to legalize same-sex marriage staged a counter-demonstration 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 organizers put their tally closer to 400,000. On Jan 13, police estimated that 340,000 gay-marriage opponents were out on the streets, as part of mass marches they have held in several French cities.
A France24 report quotes Inter-LGBT'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 the opposition, France24 says a new poll suggests that support for gay marriage and adoption rights has risen. “Following the demonstration on Jan 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 necessary number of votes in both houses of parliament to ensure the measure passes.
More coverage below:
France: Thousands march against gay marriage
France: Gay marriage fight pits left vs right, urban vs rural
More protests against gay marraige in France
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