French Conservatives Protest Marriage Equality Law

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday February 3, 2014

Although France legalized same-sex marriage in May of last year, conservatives from around the country gathered together Sunday to protest the law in Paris and Lyon, Reuters reports.

Officials who organized the demonstrations and police said they expected tens of thousands of people to protest France's "Marriage for All Law," which Socialist president Francois Hollande signed into law in May 2013. Before the protests took place, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said that any violence against police would be taken seriously.

"We are witnessing the constitution of a Tea Party ŗ la francaise," Valls said in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche.

Reuters reports that about 1,500 police officers were deployed in Paris and about 600 in Lyon.

One of the protesters' gripes is speculation that Hollande's government will increase medically assisted procreation and surrogacy for same-sex couples. Hollande's government has denied such claims, however. Some French conservatives are also upset over the introduction of an "Equality ABC" program, which some believe will teach elementary school children about gender theory.

Valls said France's moderate right "has a duty to distance itself from movements that refuse to accept the democratic decisions of parliament."

The protests may not be a surprise to some as several demonstrations and even violence erupted when France's lawmakers were debating the same-sex marriage law.

The protests even interrupted a number of high profile French sporting events, like the French Open final and the Tour de France.

In March, thousands of people protested a draft law in Paris that allows same-sex couples to tie the knot and adopt children.