Sunday, January 27, 2013

Paris Rally Against Same-Sex Marriage Supported by French & American Religious Right

France's Religious Right and Far Right supporters recently vocalized their opposition to same-sex marriage in a massive Paris rally. CNN reports that on January 13, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched through Paris to protest French President François Hollande's support for same-sex marriage and adoption. The march comes after the Cabinet approved an LGBTQ right bill that is due to go before the National Assembly and Senate. Among the rally's supporters was the far-right National Front, according to France 24. While Catholics and evangelicals figured prominently, French Muslims also took part in the rally, encouraged by groups such as the Union of French Islamic Organizations, reports Reuters.

The crowd gathered at the Champs-de-Mars near the Eiffel Tower. Comedian Frigide Barjot challenged President Hollande in a speech before the assembled protesters. “You, president of the republic, will you be the one decreeing that one can be born without a man or a woman?” she said, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Photos at France 24 show protesters marching with signs and banners that read Tous nés d'un homme et d'une femme (“All are born from a man and a woman”), Zéro maman c'est déprimant (“Zero moms is depressing”), and La différence est la clé de l'existence (“The difference [between the sexes] is the key to existence.”).

Not everyone was happy about the rally's impact on the area. According to the Local, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanöe has demanded €100,000 to cover the cost of restoring grass around the Champs-de-Mars following the demonstration.

The rally has been loudly trumpeted by both French and American Religious Right voices. For example, French anti-LGBTQ group L'institut Civitas enthusiastically supported the rally. In a January 2nd message at the L'Institut Civitas website, Civitas president Alain Escada promoted the January 13th rally. He called French president Holland's pro-LGBTQ efforts "real secularist totalitarianism" (un véritable totalitarisme laïciste), insisting that "irreligious fanaticism" (fanatisme d’irréligion) would be destructive to the family unit.

In a blog post at the Civitas website, I'ACIM president  Jean-Pierre Dickes encouraged supporters to join the January 13th rally. He argued that gays have high rates of HIV infection and domestic violence, making them unsuitable parents for adopted children. He selectively quoted research (ignoring research that says otherwise) and caricatured pro-LGBTQ feminists.  
"C'est cette situation que le mariage des homosexuels va aggraver. Un père et une mère sont nécessaires pour élever et épanouir un enfant. Tout le monde le sait. Certains féministes arguent que la violence conjugale existe dans des couples mariés ; ceci pour justifier le mariage et l'adoption des enfants par les gays. Bien sûr de tels débordements sont insoutenables. Mais faut-il pour autant oublier la violence au sein des couples homosexuels eux-mêmes?
L'homosexualité serait-elle un vaccin contre la violence ? Alors que selon l'INSERM les homosexuels se suicident treize fois plus que le reste de la population. Une étude canadienne établit que les violences conjugales sont le double au sein de ce type de populations. Sans compter que 18 % des gays ... ont contracté le sida. Ce sera dans de telles ambiances que demain nos enfants seront placés par l'adoption, voire conçus par la procréation médicalement assistée." 

("A mother and a father are required to raise and develop a child. All the world knows this. Some feminists argue that domestic violence exists with married couples; this to justify the marriage and the adoption of children by gays. Of course such excesses are intolerable. But do I need to bear in mind the violence within same-sex couples? 

Would homosexuality be a vaccine against the violence? According to the INSERM homosexuals commit suicide 13 times more than the rest of the population. A Canadian study establishes that domestic violence are twice within this type of people. Not to mention that 18% of gays ... have contracted AIDS. It will be in such atmospheres that our children will be adopted into tomorrow, or even designed by medically assisted procreation.")
Groups from the American Religious Right have also commended the anti-LGBTQ rally. In a January 11th message at the National Organization for Marriage website, NOM president Brian Brown revealed that he was in France to attend the January 13th rally. He brimmed with excitement over France's "massive poplar rebellion" against President Hollande's efforts to legalize same-sex marriage.
"To read the news accounts in the U.S., you would think gay marriage is inevitable here. Like everywhere.

That's what they always say, right? Recognize that argument for what it is: a tactic to make you feel helpless and impotent and therefore submissive. To get you to give up and just submit to whatever they have planned.

There are only two things we know for sure about the future: it hasn't happened yet. And for those of us who are people of faith—we know that God is in charge.

But to be here is to recognize something extraordinary is happening, something totally unpredicted when French President Francois Hollande set out to pass gay marriage: a massive popular rebellion."
Amusingly, in its coverage of France's anti-LGBTQ movement, NOM made a point of arguing that LGBTQ persons supposedly don't want marriage. The blog quoted LGBTQ persons who allegedly disapproved of same-sex marriage, ignoring the many LGBTQ persons and their allies who want to see same-sex marriage legalized.

The connections between NOM and France's anti-LGBTQ activists go beyond moral support. Good As You reports that the French Laissez-Nous Voter ("Let Us Vote") website went online shortly before January 13th, urging a referendum on same-sex marriage rights. According to Good As You, the website was created by Colton Brugger of OPUSFidelis, who also performs work for the NOM website.

Other right-wing groups have weighed in as well. Christian News Wire reports that Larry Jacobs, managing director of the World Congress of Families, praised the January 13th rally.
"Yesterday's march, supported by the French Catholic hierarchy, was an impassioned outpouring in defense of marriage, children, and the natural family.  It demonstrates, once again, that the push for 'same-sex marriage' is driven by elites and rejected by the overwhelming majority of families worldwide."
The January 13th rally raises important questions for LGBTQ rights supporters worldwide. Was the rally representative of anti-LGBTQ sentiment in France? If such sentiment is powerful, how can LGBTQ rights activists change minds and bring about policy change? Does the Muslim presence at the rally suggest collaboration between France's conservative Christians and conservative Muslims? To what degree are Religious Right forces in France and the United States collaborating? Finally, if the American Religious Right is forming relationships with its French counterparts, how can LGBTQ rights supporters do the same?

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Good As You: As I Predicted, NOM's President Brian Brown Is In France

French Anti-Gay Marriage Movement Is The Toast Of American Culture Warriors

O-blog-dee-o-blog-da: Hundreds of Thousands of French Catholics, Evangelicals and Muslims Protest at Eiffel Tower Against Gay Marriage

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