In Paris, near the iconic Eiffel Tower, tens of thousands of people marched to demonstrate their repudiation of a law that allows homosexual marriage. It came just six months before France goes to the polls to elect the next president. Approximately 24,000 protesters showed up at the Trocadero Plaza. Organizers of the protest claimed that approximately 200,000 people participated in the march altogether.
 
The Catholic Church and conservative political organizations have long repudiated the practice of homosexual marriage. In 2012 and 2013, hundreds of thousands of people marched throughout France to call for a repeal of the law permitting homosexual marriage. At the October 16 protest, a small group of barebreasted young women of the FEMEN movement came to denounce "homophobia" in a counter-demonstration. Some of them had the words "Hate is not a family value" smeared across their breasts. Thirteen people were arrested and removed by police. FEMEN regularly organizes such protests in various national capitals.
 
On October 16, citizens turned out to protest against the use of assisted reproduction techniques and surrogate motherhood that are used by same-sex couples to have children. In France, assisted reproduction is allowed in France only for infertile heterosexual couples. Surrogacy is banned.
 
 
The group organizing the march promotes the traditional family model of “one mother and one father.” 
 
None of the major candidates in the election attended the march.
 
Gay marriage has exposed deep divisions in France. Protests for and against homosexual unions have been notable ever since 2013. There have even been some notable homosexual intellectuals who have come out against gay marriage.
 
Organizers of the protest seek to pressure politicians on the right, who face a presidential primary next month, to agree to repeal the law if elected president. Tens of thousands of protesters march through the west end of Paris, waving the national flag, wearing the famed red Phrygian caps associated with the French Revolution, and the pink and blue colors of the "Demo for All" (La Manif Pour Tous) movement. Some bore placards saying, "All together for the family" and "In 2017, I'll vote for the family."
 
Media reports suggest that national opinion polls show that a majority in France do not want the repeal of the gay marriage law.  
 
Same-sex marriage advocates sought to legalize surrogacy to also be allowed in the 2013 law, but the government decided not to revoke the ban after seeing the unexpected protests that "Demo for All" staged during the debate over the law. 
 
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy said on the day of the march that he would not repeal same-sex marriage if he were returned to the Elysee Palace. He is trailing in the polls against his rival in the Republicans Party, Alain Juppé. "I believe France has many other important issues to deal with such as security, terrorism, and unemployment, rather than recreate conditions for another hysterical debate," Sarkozy said during a talk show. A veteran politician, as is Sarkozy, Juppé is current the prime minister of France.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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