Several hundred thousand people gathered at Champ de Mars Park at the Eiffel Tower in Paris today to protest against President Francois Hollande's plan to legalize same-sex marriage, according to Reuters. Anywhere between 340,00 and 800,000 protesters joined in (according to police and organizers, respectively), many of them waving blue and pink flags showing a man, woman,and two children.
According to Tom Heneghan of Reuters, the protests were strongly backed by the Catholic Church officials, anti-gay comedian Frigide Barjot, political conservative groups, as well as some Muslims, evangelicals, and "even homosexuals opposed to gay marriage."
Hollande's office told Heneghan that while the turnout was significant, it would not change his commitment to marriage equality.
"The French are tolerant, but they are deeply attached to the family and the defense of children," said Daniel Liechti, vice-president of the National Council of French Evangelicals, told Heneghan.
According to Reuters, support for marriage equality has actually dropped below 55% since opponents began their campaign, and "fewer than half of those polled recently wanted gays to win adoption rights."
Many protesters expressed their belief that same-sex couples should have civil rights, but that children deserved "to have a mother and father." Many protesters also carried signs carried with slogans including "marriagophile, not homophobe," "paternity, maternity, equality," and "all born of a father and mother."