Happiness and Hate as All Hell Breaks Loose in France

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com April 24 2013 10:43 AM ET

 

 

The French National Assembly approved marriage and adoption for same-sex couples Tuesday, after months of opposition protests by the country's dwindling number of staunch conservatives. This board shows the final vote count in the Assembly, the lower house of Parliament; members OK'd the bill by a margin of 331 to 225, following recent approval by the other house, the Senate. France is the largest country to enact marriage equality and the 14th country to do so, according to France 24

 


Security staffers at the French National Assembly had to remove an anti-same-sex marriage activist who tried to display a banner from the public galleries during the debate on the same-sex marriage bill at the Assembly chamber in Paris. After legislators voted for marriage equality, protests swelled and violent clashes broke out between demonstrators and riot police. France 24 reports that protesters were throwing glass bottles and metal bars at police, who responded to the melee with tear gas.


Bare-chested men sporting white masks and belonging to France's antigay group Hommen demonstrated against equality earlier in the day in Paris. Police had legions of officers and a small battery of water cannons ready to fight protesters, according to the Associated Press. Antigay attacks have spiked in the country over the last few weeks, and several politicians have also been threatened.  


As the protests and celebrations swelled in France yesterday, AmericaBlog reported a disturbing trend: hate-filled hashtags on Twitter. #MortAuxGay (which translates to "death to gays") and #ilfauttuerleshomosexuels (literally "we must kill all gays") had both been trending in the days leading up to the vote.


Same-sex couples and LGBT activists, however, weren't dissuaded from celebrating in front of the Paris City Hall hours after the Assembly adopted the marriage equality bill.


Protests weren't limited to Paris. Riot police faced off with supporters of the anti-equality movement La Manif Pour Tous ("Demonstration for All") in Lyon, located in southeastern France, hours after the bill passed.


A couple kisses on in front of the City Hall in the western French city of Nantes, sporting a sticker that reads "I Love Progress." There were also about 600 opponents of marriage equality who protested in the city. Opponents of the new law vowed to fight on, quickly filing a constitutional challenge and promising more demonstrations to pressure President Francois Hollande into backing down from signing the bill.
 


For some reason, the antigay activists of La Manif Pour Tous have adopted pink as their signature color for protests. Here they demonstrate a few hours after the French Assembly's historic vote. (Reminder: These are the guys opposed to same-sex marriage and adoption by gays. Wearing pink. And shirtless. And holding each other's thighs. Just saying.)


Anti-marriage equality activist Frigide Barjot (center) is a star in the movement. Here she protests with her supporters and other equality denialists.


Police set up barriers to deal with the protesters in Paris.


French president Francois Hollande delivers a speech to the press about the legalization of same-sex marriage at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace today. He has pledged to sign the new bill into law. The first same-sex marriages are expected to happen in June.