November 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A series of demonstrations against same-sex “marriage” and adoption in Paris and other major French cities met with an unexpected huge success over the weekend.

Over 200,000 thousand people rallied on Saturday afternoon on the Place Denfert-Rochereau to march towards the Invalides, forcing the mainstream media to take notice and cover the event. The Paris metro was disrupted by the sheer number of people, young and old, alone or with their family, who converged on the meeting point. Walking from the head of the march to the rear was quite impossible as waves of tightly packed groups of demonstrators started walking, leaving a bit of space for the thousands who kept pouring onto the Place.

No one, least of all François Hollande and his government, which has approved the draft law on “marriage for all” for discussion in Parliament on January 14th, had foreseen such popular interest. Gay “marriage,” the mainstream media like to lecture, is just another stepping stone to fuller and more equitable human rights for each individual.

On Saturday, the march’s theme was “against marriage for all and against homophobia.” The organizers gave prominence to socialist groups and homosexuals who do not favor the government proposal to legalize same-sex “marriage” and adoption, seeing this as the best tactic to obtain a change of heart from enough socialist representatives and senators to block the vote on the law. As things stand the socialist party has a comfortable majority for the text and only a minority of more “conservative” opposition parliamentarians have joined those opposing move. Several members of this group joined the march on Saturday.

This resulted in a somewhat muddled message. One of the march’s main organizers, humorist “Frigide Barjot,” explained in an interview on Friday that “homosexuality is a boon for our society.” At the march, she said her objective is to bar homosexual “marriage” and adoption, but she has also voiced her approval for civil unions for homosexual couples and said she doesn’t care what form a family takes, as long as it’s composed of a father, a mother and a child or children. All signs and banners other than those supplied by the organizers were prohibited, and marchers were requested not to come looking like upper class Catholics. Groups were not allowed to identify themselves and any religious overtone was clearly banned.

In anticipation of “kiss-ins” and similar provocations the organizers instructed all marchers to applaud homosexual couples showing physical marks of affection and to tell the “lovers”: “We love you!”

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An overwhelming number of the several hundred thousand demonstrators, however, did not visibly echo this “cool” bias; many were just ordinary people bravely saying “no” to a meaningless and dangerous scheme.

The success of the march, which was echoed by a dozen other marches from Marseille to Rennes and from Toulouse to Lyons is being attributed by many to the French bishops’ clear stance against gay “marriage.” A number of bishops, including the cardinal of Paris, who formerly clearly opposed public demonstrations against abortion such as the annual March for Life in Paris, encouraged the faithful to act. The bishops of Toulouse and Albi attended local marches and Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyons, also took part in his own city.

On Sunday, another march took place in Paris. In fact, this was the first march to have been announced, and the march organized on the previous day was a counter-initiative to traditionalist Catholic group Civitas’ call to demonstrate. Some 15,000 persons, a number of whom had also marched on Saturday, participated in this more political and often openly religious event in defense of true marriage, proclaiming: “Family is sacred”. A number of groups, mostly pro-life, cultural, royalist or political – including a major representative of the Front national, Bruno Gollnisch – marched under their own banners.

Before the beginning of the march a group of some ten feminist provocateurs purporting to belong to the Ukrainian group “Femen,” notorious for denuding themselves in public and attacking Christian symbols in the wake of the “Pussy Riot” affair, moved towards the rear of the rally. Wearing nun’s veils, they undressed, revealing insulting slogans on their chests and backs. Dressed only in black underpants and stockings, they shouted anti-Catholic slogans and emptied fire extinguishers labeled “Jesus’s sperm” on a group of demonstrators, promising to harass the march all the way to the National Assembly. The young women were unceremoniously turned away by young male demonstrators; five of them were seen to be shepherded into a police bus nearby.

The incident has sparked violent comment from the political classes, the media and, not unsurprisingly, from the organizers of the previous march, who accused the Sunday march of “extremism”, “homophobia” and violence against women.

It is still hoped, though, that a form of unity will be found for the major demonstration on January 13th.

Many French citizens recall the march in defense of private, mostly Catholic schools in 1984, when the socialist government under François Mitterrand’s presidency was aiming to create a unified secular education system. One and a half million people took to the streets in Paris in December that year, forcing the government not to take advantage of its majority and to scrap the project.