Tens of thousands of gay marriage
supporters marched through the streets of Paris on Sunday.
Police estimated 60,000 joined the
planned march in support of the government's plans to legalize
marriage and adoption for gay and lesbian couples.
Opposition from conservatives and
religious groups has been surprisingly strong – 100,000 protested
the marriage reform last month. And a second march in Paris is
planned for January 13.
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who is
openly gay, joined Sunday's march, where demonstrators waved rainbow
flags and placards which read “liberty, equality, dignity” and
“hate is not a family value,” Reuters reported.
The Socialist government of Francois
Hollande has sent the proposed plan to lawmakers for debate. The
National Assembly is expected to start debate on the legislation on
January 29, and a vote could come by mid-2013.
If approved – and most believe the
government will enact the marriage reform – France would become the
12th nation to legalize such unions. Of the nations which
have legalized marriage equality, none rival the economic and
diplomatic influence of France.