Marine Le Pen has vowed to review same-sex marriage
Thousands marched with the aim to repeal same-sex marriage in France.
It was legalized in 2013.
The protest, organized by Manif Pour Tous, wishes to put marriage equality back on the debate floor as France begins the campaign cycle for the presidential elections in May.
The anti-same-sex marriage campaigners, who held signs like ‘A father and a mother – it’s normal’ and ‘In 2017, I will vote for the family.’
While Manif Pour Tous claim 200,000 people attended the march, which went from Place de la Concorde to the Eiffel Tower, police told France 24 it was more like 24,000.
In an attempt to prevent a repeat of violence at previous homophobic protests, streets were sealed off and people were searched, with a total of thirteen arrests made including for drugs possession and offensive weapons.
Jean-Frederic Poisson MP attended, as well as the Marion Marechal-Le Pen, the niece of extreme right-wing National Front leader Marine Le Pen. Le Pen has committed to reviewing the same-sex marriage law if she is elected president.
Counter-protesters were also there, including feminist group Femem who are known for rallying topless.
They shouted ‘hatred is not a family value’. Six of the 13 arrested were from Femen.
On Twitter, Femen said they were responding to a ‘reactionary wave’ which has ‘spilled homophobia across France’.
Virginia Combe, acting president of Sos Homophobie – one of France’s biggest LGBT groups –said they are hoping for far less anger and violence than three years ago.
‘Compared to three years ago, yesterday there were very few people marching against same-sex marriage. It will not make much of a difference,’ she told us.
‘Manif Pour Tous are a few, if impassioned group. It’s not about what is best for the French people, but their ideas.’
But for Combe, the current same-sex marriage law is not good enough for the LGBT community. They still want laws to be passed to allow surrogacy for same-sex couples and adoption easier for rainbow families.
None of the leading presidential candidates have said they are interested in repealing the same-sex marriage law.
An August 2016 poll found 65% of France citizens support marriage equality up from 51% when it was legalized in 2013.