Thursday, January 10, 2013

The mother of all marches against gay marriage: Paris -- November 17, then January 13

Having uploaded a huge chunk of French news about the gay marriage debate, I'll post the official Manif pour Tous video about the Paris marches, since Paris is the keystone of the whole movement. On January 13, 2013, the organizers hope to gather half a million marchers to Paris in order to force Hollande to hold a referendum on gay marriage; they are confident that a popular vote will slow the move toward gay marriage and adoption. I'll leave this bundle of translations here as is for a while, so the Internet can digest them. I will be working on a longer piece for The Public Discourse about the gay marriage debate in American and French culture.

Frigide Barjot, spokeswoman for the movement: This movement of November 17, is a mobilization of the citizens, for the anonymous citizen. We ask for a referendum about this bill. It's the people, with their diversity of origins, which will ask to decide on gay marriage.

Camille Bechikh, president of "Sons of France": We can't let this movement get viewed as a front of believers fighting against secularism or against the idea of a Republic. Far from it! We are a cross-section, of all spirituality. We are here doing this because we love the Republic.

Frigide, taking the stage: I ask you! Is it possible, when a baby is born, for us to mark on her birth certificate: Here is Caroline, born of Jean-Pierre and Nicholas? [The crowd cries: "no"!] Why? Because there is no ovary in the testicle! [The crowd cheers.] Yes, it's true, that's the way it is. I can't find anything in there. I looked.

Xavier Bongibault, Collective of "Gayer without Marriage": No to homophobia! No to homophobia of LGBT. I direct myself here to everyone out there, all the way up to the highest among you, François Hollande himself, who say that homosexuals must want homosexual marriage, because they are homosexual. That view is deeply homophobic. That view says that homosexuals have no political thoughts beyond their sexual instincts.

Marie-Thérèse Hermange, Honorary Senator from Paris: This is a law that denies reality and institutionalizes a lie. It lays down a lie for couples, and for children. All of you know this: this law will uncouple biological procreation from social reproduction, and this will institute a vulnerable situation for the children. We will seek to counter this.

Tugdual Derville, general delegate from Alliance Vita: It's common sense, plain and simple. This law, in the name of parity, ends up erasing the basic parity at the root of life. A parity that is undeniable. It's biological equality, the equality of origin.

Jerôme Brunet, President of the Call for Childhood Experts: Whether we are psychologists or sociologists or educators, we see each day the suffering of the child in France. We try to back them up and accompany them. We bear witness that the familial cell is a fragile unit as it is. Think of how much harder for a kid in this way. Moreover, we are very unsettled by the requirement that we explain all this to children, all the permutations of possible family trees. Not all permutations that exist are beneficial.

Béatrice Bourges, President of the Collective for the Child: What we are asking for is a retraction of this bill. We want to do this in a way that acknowledges that homosexuals can love each other. But we must not acknowledge them by taking away a child's right to a father and mother. We want a general-states referendum. We want French people to decide, for themselves, if they wish to modify the law in such a major way.

Monsignor Patrick Chuvet, priest of St. Francis-Xavier: Why do we ring the bells now? Because our church should demonstrate its joy, even in the building itself, our joy for those who are alive. And the bells.

Couple with pink scarves: This is absolutely not a homophobic rally. We are here because of our deep conviction that a child needs a mom and a dad. We must prioritize the rights of children over the rights to children.

Older man in glasses and corduroy jacket: I am the father of an adopted child. My twenty-year-old daughter thinks it's inconceivable to be raised by two people of the same sex.

Man in sweater: The right of the child overrides the right to a child.

Franco-African woman: People have to get it into their heads that a child needs the guidance of a mom and a dad. Society is based on having a mom and a dad, not two fathers or two moms.

Young man in beige jacket: I am here [because of procedure.] He must have a referendum, should have done it already, before thinking of proposing such a law.

Man without a scarf: There is not a majority for this law in France. We have not had a full debate.

Young couple: I'm afraid of just sliding along with this without thinking. It's like passing a law and saying, "what good is it for?" Whatever, I'll just go along. No, we can't think that way.

Crowd chanting: Touch nothing -- you have civil unions!

Philippe Brillaut, Mayor of Chesnay: I'm here because I am a mayor, someone who's married men and women for years and years; and our constituents look to elected officials to come and stand up for our values -- man, woman, family. These are the values of the vast majority here in France. I will not touch the civil code and wipe out the role of mother and father in the code. We will search for an answer for homosexuals, just not that. That's why I am here today.

Gérard Larcher, former president of the Senate: What I hope is that many elected officials will open a debate about this subject. This is a fundamental issue in our society. Marriage, family, childrearing, adoption, these are fundamental.

Claude Goasgen, Deputy of Paris: This is not a homophobic rally. Don't be fooled. This is a rally to prompt the French people to reflect. To do this with time and wisdom. Calmly. The government ought not to pass the job of reflection to a parliamentary commission. That's why we have taken to the streets. If you think that the government can prevent us from discussing these arguments, even something so important, hey, you got to say to the government, sorry, you're all wrong.

Larcher: If they do not hear us, naturally, we will exercise our rights on another front. There will be a very strong debate. When I was a young official, I remember, the text on schooling, that was voted but never promulgated. It is so important that the people rally and gather.

Laurenc Tcheng, Leftists for Republican Marriage: Me, I voted for Hollande. I'm very disappointed, I can't take this anymore. In the corridors, the parliamentarians of the left say, "yes go, for it." But why? They could abstain or use the discipline of the vote. I am here to say to them and the cabinet ministers, why are you pushing this through without a debate, without a general states (vote?), and a referendum? Do it to clear up our conscience and give the people the ultimate right to defend the Republic. It relates to nothing other than the defense of the people who are most vulnerable.

Frigide Barjot: The first principle is that our first intuitions are right. Face up to common sense. Why do we have to prove it? You all have a brain, right, despite all the harassment of the media that tells you, "You are a homophobe!" Are you a homophobe? [Crowd cheers no!]

Spokesman in red pants: This vast march, this manif for all; this is a stage. This is phase one, leading to a gathering even bigger! Even more massive. Drawing on all the forces opposed to this bill, you here today are a testament to our diversity and our enormity. Go and call more to action in the upcoming weeks, let them know about the great march coming up on January 13, 2013. The call is simple, the form clear. All to Paris on January 13, 2013. Don't let yourselves grow weak. Do all that we can, not only marching. Sign petitions, phone the MPs. Go even and present yourselves to Mr. Mayor.