May 27, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
More than 100,000 protest French marriage law

An anti-gay marriage rally in Paris in January drew more than 350,000 people. (Photo courtesy of Xavier Héraud/Yagg.com)

An anti-gay marriage rally in Paris in January drew more than 350,000 people. (Photo courtesy of Xavier Héraud/Yagg.com)

More than 100,000 people marched through the streets of Paris on Sunday in opposition to France’s new same-sex marriage law.

Police said an estimated 150,000 same-sex marriage opponents took part in the protest in the French capital. La Manif Pour Tous, the group that led the campaign against the same-sex marriage law, said in a press release the march drew one million people.

French television reported authorities arrested 231 people who clashed with police at the end of the march.

“Despite all of the government’s attempts to intimidate, this protest will go down in history as an immense success,” La Manif Pour Tous said. “It was the ‘great shock of hope’ that France needs.”

President François Hollande on May 18 signed his country’s same-sex marriage bill into law after the French Constitutional Council rejected a challenge to it. The measure received final approval in the French National Assembly last month amid growing concerns the rhetoric against it had sparked a spate of anti-gay attacks across the country.

Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau of Montpellier are expected to become the first gay couple to tie the knot in France on Wednesday.

“Loving and committed gay and lesbian couples should be able to get married no matter who they are or where they live,” Andre Banks, executive director of All Out, a group that rallied support for the French same-sex marriage law. “We are so happy that France has made the world a freer and more beautiful place for gays and lesbians.”

Neighboring Belgium and Spain are among countries in which gays and lesbians can legally marry.

Gay couples in Uruguay and New Zealand will be able to tie the knot in August once their country’s same-sex marriage laws take effect.

Brazil’s National Council of Justice on May 14 ruled registrars cannot deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Colombian Senate last month overwhelmingly rejected a same-sex marriage bill. Gays and lesbians will be able to legally register their relationships in the South American country on June 20 if lawmakers fail to act upon a 2011 ruling from the nation’s highest court that mandated them to pass legislation within two years that extends the same benefits heterosexuals receive through marriage to same-sex couples.

The British House of Lords next month is slated to debate a measure that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in England and Wales.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

2 Comments
  • Samesexmarriage will add to our immigration problem. This is the ugly of Nature not the equality of People. Will destroy the growth to our kids. Might as well cancel all marriage and no more tax loopholes. Change the way we occupy our Jails. How can anyone approve two guys adopting a girl even at the age of 1? How sick does that sound? Trafficking would be legal just about.. This is so stupid even to think about gay marriage. Are we really becoming barbarians of entitlements to such a law? Where does it end? pets? Where does it go? How far?

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