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Massive street protest against same sex marriage

The Vatican offered full support to a demonstration in Paris, but it seems unlikely to prevent legalization of same sex marriage in France.

  • Giacomo Galeazzi
  • France
  • January 15, 2013
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Organisers claim at least 800 thousand people participated in yesterday’s demonstration in Paris, while police said there were 340 thousand present. What is for sure is that the huge attendance as the demonstration held in defence of marriage between a man and a woman, poses a “political” problem for relations between State and Church.If at first there was a focus on the spontaneous and non denominational nature of the demonstration, Catholic media supporting the protest have painted a picture of an escalation in tension between Church hierarchies and the French government.

Vatican Radio praised the “demo for all” for avoiding any homophobic gestures.The Pope’s radio station stressed that Catholics joined the march “to convince President Hollande not to legalise marriage between people of the same sex with the right to adopt, marriage for all as it is called.” Same-sex marriage “harms children’s rights”.

Bishop Enrico Solmi, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference’s commission for the family and life spoke of an important” popular demonstration in defence of the family.” Official  Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano also reported on the march in Paris, emphasising the “almost one million French people that took to the streets,” whilst other media, including French daily Le Monde, recognised the French Catholic Church’s “impressive capacity for mobilisation.”

L’Osservatore Romano supported the marches which took place yesterday in Paris “Rome and other cities across the world” and informed that a few hundred demonstrators gathered in Piazza Farnese in Rome where they presented a petition.

But the Vatican offensive seems to have had the opposite effect to the one it had hoped to achieve on a political level. Despite the imposing protest demonstration, the French governemtn has shown no intention of making any changes to the bill which legalises same-sex marriage, while the opposition is calling for a referendum on the issue. Straight after the demonstration, the French government issued a statement confirming that the socialist majority would be going ahead with the reform and that the relevant bill will be presented in Parliament on 29 January.” “This law takes nothing away from anyone, it does not exclude the words father and mother,” French Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira, said, excluding the possibility of a referendum which she sees as unconstitutional.

 Government spokesman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem confirmed that the government views the measure as “a sign of progress of historic proportions.” He added: “The government is completely determined to pass this reform as it is a step forward for the whole of society.”

Full Story: Vatican gives its blessing to gay marriage protests in Paris 

Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa

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