By Wendy Wright
NEW YORK, January 18 (C-FAM) Perhaps as many as a million people marched in Paris last Sunday and at French embassies around the world against proposed legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in France. One of the surprises in the French campaign for traditional marriage is that homosexuals have joined pro-family leaders and activists in the effort.
“The rights of children trump the right to children,” was the catchphrase of protesters like Jean Marc, a French mayor who is also homosexual.
Even though France is known for its laissez faire attitude toward sex, pro-family leaders were quick to organize huge numbers. When President Hollande announced his intentions to legalize homosexual marriage last November, a demonstration against the proposal gathered 100,000 protesters. And then what started as a debate about homosexual rights changed to one about a child’s right to a mother and a father, and the numbers in opposition exploded and has come to include unlikely allies.
Xavier Bongibault, an atheist homosexual, is a prominent spokesman against the bill. “In France, marriage is not designed to protect the love between two people. French marriage is specifically designed to provide children with families,” he said in an interview. “[T]he most serious study done so far . . . demonstrates quite clearly that a child has trouble being raised by gay parents.”
Jean Marc, who has lived with a man for 20 years, insists, “The LGBT movement that speaks out in the media . . . They don’t speak for me. As a society we should not be encouraging this. It’s not biologically natural.”
Outraged by the bill, 66-year old Jean-Dominique Bunel, a specialist in humanitarian law who has done relief work in war-torn areas, told Le Figaro he “was raised by two women” and that he “suffered from the lack of a father, a daily presence, a character and a properly masculine example, some counterweight to the relationship of my mother to her lover. I was aware of it at a very early age. I lived that absence of a father, experienced it, as an amputation.”
“As soon as I learned that the government was going to officialize marriage between two people of the same sex, I was thrown into disarray,” he explained. It would be “institutionalizing a situation that had scarred me considerably. In that there is an injustice that I can in no way allow.” If the women who raised him had been married, “I would have jumped into the fray and would have brought a complaint before the French state and before the European Court of Human Rights, for the violation of my right to a mom and a dad.”
A pro-family coalition that includes homosexuals is certainly different than in the United States and likely most places around the world. It is unclear why at least some French homosexuals would not only favor man-woman marriage only, but would campaign against homosexual marriage. It could be that France has allowed for civil unions, for all couples, for more than a decade. Whatever the reason, this potent coalition may stop homosexual marriage in France.
France’s National Assembly will take up the bill on January 29.
Wendy Wright is Vice President for Government Relations and Communications for the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (http://www.c-fam.org/). Her article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM.