The French Defy Socialists over Gay Marriage

Many should be aware of the massacres and massive human rights violations visited upon the Catholic Church during the French Revolution, especially in the Vendée, but there is another more recent period in French history in which the Church was violently oppressed that has received far less attention. Historian Jean Sévillia’s Quand les catholiques étaient hors la loi (When Catholics were Outlaws) covers the period from 1876-1906 when the democratically elected French governments dedicated to “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” arrested and deported over 30,000 priests, brothers and nuns for the crime of being members of Catholic religious congregations. The full weight of the state, police, army, and judiciary was brought to bear on these souls who dedicated their lives to God in prayer and ran schools, hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, etc. I begin with this historical overview because France is once again entering a period of social turmoil with strong religious overtones.

Promoting laicité (secularism, or the aggressive separation of Church and State) is still a feature of French governments in the 21st century. Wearing traditional Islamic headscarves, large crosses or other religious jewellery and even Jewish Kippas in French public schools was made illegal in 2004. Discriminating against those who believe in God and manifest their faith publicly in how they dress is sadly a regular theme of the different French Republics. To be fair, the 2011 French law that banned the wearing of the Burqa in public was not mainly an anti-Islamic measure but was motivated more from concern that these women were suffering from dehumanizing sexual discrimination.

Attending the third massive pro-natural marriage national protest in five months, I saw a face of France that is rarely on display. La Manif Pour Tous (“The Protest Open to All,” a play on Le Mariage Pour Tous, the French legislature’s homosexual “Marriage For All” law), featured mainly young adults and couples with small children marching along the Seine 10 abreast as far as the eye could see. This superbly organized protest actually featured 3 routes that converged just beyond the Eiffel Tower at the Invalides for the final combined rally. Sound trucks moved with the people who carried blue, white or pink flags with the image of a man and woman holding hands with a young boy and a young girl, the logo of the movement. They mainly chatted and smiled, but the light-hearted mood was interspersed with repeated chants: “Un Père, Une Mère, C’est élémentaire! (A father, a mother, it’s elementary!)” and “François, ta loi, on en veut pas (François [Hollande] we reject your law).” Most popular by far, however, was, “On ne lâche rien! (We will never give up!)”

When more than one million people repeatedly take to the streets and protest against a democratically elected government, something significant is happening, even if the mainstream media tries to minimize it. Few pundits thought that French President François Hollande would ignite a social firestorm simply by fulfilling his electoral promise to legalize homosexual “marriage.” Some of the questions for those witnessing the outrage in France over the issue are: Why have we not seen the same kind of societal rejection of same-sex “marriage” in the 13 other nations that have passed such legislation? Is the flame of moral conscience and family values more alive in France than elsewhere?

The answer to the latter question appears to be yes. The more interesting follow-up question is why? I think a large part of the reason is demographic. France has the highest fertility in Europe, better than practically every other industrialized country, with 2.08 children per woman. Drilling down into the societal average, however, one finds that not all groups are having the same number of children. As in the United States, social liberals in France have none to one child on average while social conservatives have two or more children. There is no doubt that immigrants and traditional Catholics are having larger families than the French average, and this is leading to practical social consequences.

The French pro-marriage marchers were sending a message that they are done meekly submitting to the liberal agenda. We may indeed be witnessing the end of the age when leftists imposed with impunity on the whole of society whatever they wished. One protestor told a reporter that he wanted to be able to say “I was here in May 2013.” He was making a cultural reference to May 1968, when large and violent protests brought down the government and started a “social revolution” that eventually included free “love,” divorce and abortion on demand. There is a clear before and after in French society with an entire generation referred to as 68ers.

La Manif Pour Tous could herald the beginning of a new era, one with a traditional social program. A growing conservative cohort of French under the age of 40 is rejecting the liberal values of the 1968 generation. Among the large population of immigrants, this protest against the current French liberal order, especially unemployment and social exclusion, turned violent in 2005 and 2012. La Manif Pour Tous represents a much more organized and politically potent movement.  Over 12,000 French mayors for instance came out in support and announced that they would refuse to celebrate same-sex “marriages.” The anti-homosexual “marriage” protests covered the entire country in hundreds of cities and towns and not just the capital, showing strong grass-roots support.

The last time so many people rallied for a cause in France was in 1984 when a giant Paris protest stopped the Socialist government of President François Mitterand from nationalizing all the, mostly Catholic, private schools. It is clear that this current Socialist government, however, is quite determined and not especially interested in respecting the people’s wishes. They planned on pushing a wider agenda with same-sex “marriage” and homosexual couple’s adoption of children as only the first step. Next up was “Gender education” in schools to indoctrinate children into accepting the full panoply of sexual perversions as normal and acceptable practices. I suppose they reasoned it would be hard to justify making Heather Has Two Mommies required reading before homosexuals could legally marry.

Liberalizing euthanasia is another prominent item on the to do list of the French Socialists. Its legalization would bring France into line with the most “progressive” countries of Europe, The Netherlands and Belgium. It also fits in well among the cost-cutting measures that are being forced on the government by the economic crisis (an updated version of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” almost writes itself); though the Socialists cannot be accused of being seriously interested in making budget cuts. They recently saddled French taxpayers with millions of extra Euro in expenses when they decided the government socialized medicine system would now cover 100% of the cost of all abortions and birth control for teens.

The only impediment to getting along with this program of upending and trampling on basic societal values is the huge mass of protestors who did not supinely go away after they rammed through their same-sex “marriage” law. Rather, crowds defending marriage and family paralyzed Paris while happily chanting “We will never give up!” These are, by the way, the very same people who seem to be having the largest numbers of children. Good luck building a viable society based on homosexual “marriage” and hedonistic leftism. History and demography are not on the side of the destroyers of marriage and children.

Joseph Meaney


Joseph Meaney is the Director of International Coordination for Human Life International. Joseph completed his PhD in Bioethics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome in 2015. His bachelors and masters degrees from the Catholic University of Dallas and the University of Texas Institute of Latin American Studies prepared him for an international career that has included lectures and investigative journalism missions on six continents and over 67 countries. Before becoming Director of HLI's International Division, Joseph helped found and served four years as Vice Director of HLI's Rome Office. He speaks French, Spanish, and Italian fluently.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    French opponents of SSM have focused their opposition on l’homoparantalité [same-sex parenting], which they see as its inevitable consequence.

    In 2006, the parliamentary commission on the Family and the Rights of Children, known as the Pécresse Commission declared that “The link between marriage and filiation is so close that the question of making marriage accessible is inseparable from that of making adoption and medically assisted conception accessible. This link was acknowledged by almost all witnesses, whether they were in favour of or opposed to developments in this area.”

    Now, France has resolutely opposed these developments, restricting infertility treatment to pathological conditions, forbidding the sale of human gametes and embryos, outlawing gestational surrogacy and restricting joint adoption to married (opposite-sex) couples. The strength of opposition to same-sex marriage must be seen against that background and the failure of the government to obtain approval for joint adaption by same-sex couples is a major victory for La Manif Pour Tous.

  • alex

    Italy had its moment of great rebellion against all of the above-mentioned manipulations of human nature in 2007. As a result the government then in charge, under a man who professed he was Catholic, stopped even cosmetic consultation of the Forum of the Families association, which was guilty of having organized the demonstration. The ensuing events, the financial shennanigings that have dragged Italy’s economy along with its good name into the mud, are the vicious counterattack of the élite which even placed their own un-elected man atop our government. An account of all this can be read, for example, in “The Looting of Italy” at:

  • Ruth Rocker

    Vive la France!! It’s too bad we don’t have this kind of enthusiasm in the US about all this bourgeois BS!!

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  • patricia m.

    I am so proud of the French. I wish that we here in the US would be a bit more courageous and do the same thing.

  • tamsin

    I think I see the influence of trade unions in these protests in France.

    In France, the “trade” is parenting. The French people are used to hearing demands for job security. So they are open to hearing a demand for the natural mother and the natural father to have a lifelong right to the “job” of parenting the child.

    The proponents of natural marriage have been able to frame the debate starting from the needs of the child. As in, who is best fitted to parent any one child? Two men? Two women? Or one woman and one man?

    The focus of La Manif Pour Tous has properly been the right of the child to be raised by the biological mother and the biological father, which fits with a demand for the right of the mother to be the mother and right of the father to be the father. With all the responsibilities.

    I would also like to point out that, in France, unions have perfected the art of going on strike (“French air traffic controllers began a three-day strike on Tuesday, forcing hundreds of flight cancellations across the country…”), so it’s not surprising that they can put on a good show when they need to. Have you seen the Sanofi employees doing the Maori war dance in Toulouse to protest potential job loss?

    • HV Observer

      I’m a fan of the Haka. Do you have a link to some video of these war-dancing Sanofians?

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      And, of course, the great demand of the trades unions in recent years has been « Parité » parity, that is, equal numbers of men and women employed in all positions, especially in leadership rôles. Mme Ludovine de la Rochère, the redoubtable leader of La Manif pour Tous has alluded to this, asking why, if parité is such a good thing in government and in the work-place, why not in the home? If men and women each have their own unique contributions to make in every other aspect of national life, why not in bringing up a child?

  • Paul McGuire

    You are right that it seems surprising we haven’t seen similar protests of this scale in other countries if there really is strong opposition to same-sex marriage on the same level. I’m all for this sort of protest because it helps gauge where the people are on certain issues in a way that you can’t get from polls or voting.

  • Victress Jenkins

    I understand that the homosexuals marched in support of traditional marriage which is significant. They are allowed civil unions so they don’t need marriage itself.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      In fact civil unions (PACS) are open both to same-sex and opposite-sex couples. In 2010, there were some 250,000 weddings in France and 200,000 PACSs, almost all of the latter between opposite-sex couples. The PACS is certainly not seen as just something for homosexuals.

      In 2000, before the PACS was introduced, there were some 350,000 weddings, so there has been a decline in the popularity both of marriage and of unregulated cohabitation

  • Midge

    There is an organization of French homosexuals that opposes homosexual marriage. This website has some translations of their well-made videos

    Interesting point made is that homosexuals also grew up in traditional families with a mother and a father so it is alien to them, too, to think of “gay families” or adoption or manufacturing children for homosexual couples.

    The success of the same sex marriage movement here in the US is directly attributable to the Orwellian demonization and blocking of dissent. The case for homosexuals marrying each other is terrible: They don’t even want to! In places where they are able to marry or civil union, the percentages are small and will go down in the future once the novelty and “spit in your eye” of it wears off and they find out that divorcing or dissolving a civil union is a royal pain.

    Marriage is not religious, its anthropological. Its human nature. It predates religion and it predates the state. Homosexuals can no more marry one another in the true sense than “transgender” people can change their sex. Its really a narcissistic and childish issue and no surprise that the big supporters are people closest to still being children, the “millenials,” the 18-29 year olds. Like children, they see a valid argument in “If you don’t do what I want, you’re oppressing me.”

    • Alecto

      Go Midge! Let’s send them to their rooms without supper!

      • Bob

        I agree with Midge. The whole Gay movement is total narcissism which at its core is self centered immaturity.

  • 1Indioviejo1

    I find it encouraging to see large opposition to the abomination of homosexual marriage, but the mere mention of immigrant communities allied to this cause sets up a red flag of caution from Muslim immigrants allied to this cause to further their totalitarian agenda.

    • JoFro


  • tom

    So, it’s simple: Have more children!