While the French government may have forced legalized same-sex marriage on its subjects with a final vote by the National Assembly on April 23, a strong voice among French citizens continues to be raised in aggressive opposition. France became the 14th country to redefine marriage, with the 335-221 vote in the socialist-controlled National Assembly coming a week after New Zealand voted to legalize homosexual relationships as marriage.
But the change in the traditionally liberal nation has not come without intense opposition by a broad range of both secular and religious groups, with even some homosexual organizations declaring that true marriage can exist only between a man and a woman. In January an estimated half-million French citizens took to the streets of Paris to protest the same-sex marriage plan spearheaded by Socialist President Francois Hollande. Most were demanding that French voters be allowed the final decision in the form of a national referendum.
And just days before the vote, over 50,000 protesters joined in a massive show of resistance outside the National Assembly building, demanding a referendum and chanting, “We don't want your law, Hollande.” Alberic Dumon, one of the protest organizers, told Reuters News: “We warned the president back in November that we would not give up and that we would do everything to stop this law being passed, or to get it repealed if it is adopted.
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris, warned that the way the French government had forced same-sex marriage on the country without debate or input from citizens was likely to incite continued resistance and even violence. He noted that the difference between the sexes was a basic human trait and denying it by forcing the legalization of same-sex marriage would severely compromise a peaceful solution. “This is the way a violent society develops,” he told a recent meeting of French bishops. “Society has lost its capacity of integration and especially its ability to blend differences in a common project.”
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