Thousands of people took to the streets of Paris to demonstrate against same sex marriage, six months before France’s next presidential election.
Same sex marriage was legalized in France in 2013.
The protest was organized by ManifpourTous, or ‘Demonstration for All’. The group, which was formed in 2012, attempts to have the 2013 law repealed.
The group organizing the event presents itself as promoting traditional family values of “one mother and one father.” It wishes to impact the debate before the presidential election.
None of the major presidential candidates, however, attended the march.
The demonstrators marched through the Place de la Concorde towards the Eiffel Tower, holding placards that read ““A father and a mother – it's hereditary” and “In 2017, I will vote for the family.”
“I am against gay marriage and against the crappy leaders who oppose the power of the people,” said Michel Delaune, a retired 72-year-old engineer as quoted by France24.
Protesters also rallied against surrogate pregnancies, which would permit same sex couples to have children. Some of the demonstrators held slogans saying, “Women’s wombs are not for sale.”
According to ManifpourTous’ estimate, the demonstration attracted around 200,000 protesters, but the police reported a far lower turnout of 24,000.
The gathering was held under tight security, with authorities avoiding a repeat of the violence in a larger protest in April 2013.