Tens of Thousands Flood France’s Streets In Favor Of Gay Marriage

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of demonstrators came out across France to show their support for the same-sex marriage bill introduced by President François Hollande and the Socialist Party.

Police estimated some 60,000 people gathered at the Place de la Bastille in Paris on Sunday, though organizers claim as many as 150,000 took part in the “demonstration for equality.”

Saturday drew thousands to rallies in other French cities including Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon and Nantes to protest homophobia and back gay marriage legislation.

“I think marriage is good for everyone!” said 10-year-old Arthur, who attended Sunday’s rally with his eight-year-old sister Lola and their two mothers, one of whom, Christelle, lamented the vitriol over the gay marriage debate in recent months.

“For the first time our children have experienced homophobia that shocked them,” she said, adding that the opposition only makes her want to fight even harder for equality.

Hollande has been criticized for failing to take a strong enough stand to force full equality amidst dissent from conservatives and religious groups. Despite this, Parliament, where the Socialists have a strong majority, is expected to pass the “Marriage for All” bill.

A national poll by IFOP released on Saturday showed 60% of the population in favor of legalizing gay marriage and 46% in favor of gay couples being able to adopt.

Parliament will debate the issue on January 29, but not before proponents and opponents of marriage equality take to the streets to have their respective says.

Protests against the bill are scheduled for January 13 while demonstrations in its favor will take place just two days before the debate on January 27.