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Huge crowds rally against gay marriage in Paris

By Mehdi Chebil /france24.com/

An estimated 340,000 people gathered in the French capital on Sunday to voice their opposition to President François Hollande’s controversial “marriage for all” bill, which seeks to extend equal rights to same-sex couples.

Some 340,000 people opposed to President François Hollande’s plan to legalise gay marriage took to the streets of Paris on Sunday in a bid to organise one of the French capital’s biggest protest rallies in years.

Demonstrators from all over France hired coaches and high-speed trains to join a hybrid coalition of Catholic groups, backers of traditional family rights and political conservatives – including the far-right National Front. Muslim groups and even homosexuals opposed to same-sex marriage were also taking part in Sunday’s march.

The protest’s eccentric leader, comedian Frigide Barjot, has vowed to thwart the government’s planned “marriage for all” with a “demo for all”, which she says is aimed at “protecting” children.

While the government argues that its “marriage for all” bill is just an extension of equal rights to gay and lesbian couples, opponents are trying to use its legal implication – adoption by same-sex couples – as a lightning rod for backers of the traditional family.

The French parliament is due to begin debating the controversial legislation later this month. According to recent opinion polls, around 65% of people surveyed are in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

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