The mainstream media largely ignored the story, but Paris, Lyon, Brussels, Bucharest, Madrid, Warsaw, and Rome saw large crowds demonstrate in favor of marriage and the traditional family on Sunday.
The protests were led by La Manif Pour Tous (Protest for Everyone), a rapidly growing French group of associations that launched in January 2013 with a massive rally in Paris against same-sex marriage legislation.
Police said 80,000 people took to the streets of the French capital on Sunday, although La Manif Pour Tous put the figure closer to half a million. At least 20,000 are reported to have marched in Lyon.
The French protesters were marching against a raft of policies being pushed through by President Francois Hollande. Since foisting same-sex marriage on the French last year, the current government is promoting legislation in favor of medically assisted procreation techniques for lesbian couples and in-vitro fertilization, a further relaxation of abortion laws, and an experimental school program aimed at combating gender stereotypes.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned that "no excesses" would be tolerated during the marches and ordered a heavy security presence, although the protests — made up of many families with young children in strollers — mostly passed off peacefully.
Jean-Pierre Delaume-Myard, spokesman for La Manif Pour Tous who is also homosexual, told Vatican Radio on Friday that children are the “first victims” of same-sex marriage.
“It deprives them of a father and a mother,” he said. “The desire to have a child by a homosexual cannot justify any kind of solution to fill this gap. Every child has the right to have a father and a mother,” he said.
Delaume-Myard said the same-sex marriage legislation — known as the “Taubira law” — was imposed on the French people, often violently by repressing public opposition (the European Court of Human Rights is currently investigating the charge).
He argued that the “majority of homosexuals had never asked for such a thing” and the proof is that “civil unions” have existed in France for years, and yet only 4 percent of homosexuals have ever opted for them. “So homosexuals have never asked for gay marriage, let alone children,” he said.
Medically assisted procreation and surrogate pregnancies, he added, were “even worse” as they regard women and children as commodities.
Beyond France, the protesters were marching on Sunday against the Lunacek report on equality with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity in Europe. The report calls for a new EU “road map” to combat ‘homophobia’ and demands lesbian and gay rights should now be considered human rights.
It also calls on the European Commission to promote “equality and non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity throughout its youth and education programmes.”
La Manif Pour Tous Italy, which held a rally of its own on Feb. 2 in solidarity with their French counterparts, demonstrated against the Lunacek report and other similar legislation. Its director, Jacopo Coghe, said the rally was “to affirm that we will not be instruments of violence and destruction” and will “defend the family, paying in person if necessary.”
He pointed out that Italians are joining the protests because “only the union between a man and a woman can form a stable construct that is the family, the place par excellence of solidarity and acceptance.”
La Manif Pour Tous, which argues that marriage between a man and a woman is a “civil and anthropological value” that goes “beyond different cultural and religious positions", hopes to field candidates in upcoming municipal and European elections.
The movement has come far in just 12 months, and with growing support across the continent, it looks likely to advance stealthily in the years ahead.
Edward Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002. He has covered the Pope and the Holy See for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times. Read more reports from Edward Pentin — Click Here Now.
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