Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

News

Estimated 1 million+ march in Paris against gay ‘marriage’ plans

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
Image

January 14, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A million. And more. The turnout for this Sunday’s demonstration against French President François Hollande’s move to legalize same-sex “marriage” reached gigantic and even un-hoped for proportions.

Paris was covered with blue, white and pink flags marking grassroot France’s opposition to the unthinkable, as three apparently endless distinct marches converged at the foot of the Eiffel tower.

The triple itinerary was mandated by the Parisian police, and was seen by many as an attempt by the minister of the Interior to weaken the event visually by dividing its forces. It turned out to be a Godsend.

The first demonstrators started leaving the three departure points an hour before intended, at noon, but even so, the last marchers didn't start until 4 p.m. Thousands upon thousands of people slowly covered the three to four mile-long routes, stopping and going as if in a traffic jam because of their sheer numbers.

At half past two, the minister for Social affairs, Marisol Touraine, announced that the turnout was far less than the organizers had hoped. At 5 p.m. official figures were given out by the police: 340,000 participants. That was half their real count: unofficial sources from police headquarters say the “Préfecture” had actually counted 700,000, but had received orders to halve the figure.

However, according to some reports even the 700,000 estimate may have fallen far short of the mark.

The demonstrators kept streaming towards the gigantic Champ de Mars which can hold some 800,000 people, and which was filled to overflowing with a rotating crowd of demonstrators. Many left the march before its destination, discouraged by the melting snow that was falling by then or obliged to catch trains, planes or buses to resume work on Monday.

By 11 p.m. a number of officials at the Préfecture rebelled, according to unofficial sources, and reported estimates of as many as 1.2 to 1.4 million.

The French government has been doing its best to downplay the spectacular success of the “Manif pour tous.” Socialist party members and ministers have been repeating since Sunday that the proposition will not be scrapped, whatever happens.

The government’s official spokeswoman, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said it was “totally determined” to go on with its reform of marriage, calling it a “historical progress”. The minister for Justice, Christiane Taubira, accused the demonstrators of deliberately ignoring the language of the draft law that bears her name and said it would be sufficient to make its real wording known to the French to dissipate their concern.

The law explicitly allows same-sex “marriage” and adoption by homosexual couples.

President François Hollande’s spokesman also said that the draft law will be presented to the Parliament by the end of January. Socialist majorities both in the Senate and the National Assembly are expected to vote for the text, while a complete review of family law is to be presented in March. Among other things, this will include more widespread access to in vitro fertilization and other procreative techniques claimed by homosexual minorities.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

But who were the million protesters who spent time, energy and money – in an economically depressed time– to come and say “no” to same-sex “marriage”?

Large numbers of elected town and village mayors and counselors - those who would have to celebrate same-sex “marriage” in the event of it being legalized - marched with their blue, red and white official scarves. There were also a number of opposition figureheads, including - strangely enough - Simone Veil, the author and promoter of the French abortion law in 1974.

If Frigide Barjot, the provocative self-appointed figurehead of Sunday’s march is to be believed, many of them were atheists, Jews, Protestants, leftwing voters, and homosexuals who are against gay “marriage.” Those were the only groups she greeted and thanked from the gigantic podium at the foot of the Eiffel tower.

However, Cardinal Vingt-Trois of Paris came to greet the marchers at Denfert-Rochereau. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon also joined the march, condemning the “violence” of the law that would “change the meaning of a word”.

“This law is violently harming a nation. It will not mean progress for France,” he said.

Several bishops came – including Mgr Aillet from Bayonne and Mgr Centène from the south of Britanny – as well as countless priests and religious.

The majority of Sunday’s protesters were Catholics. Old and young, rich and poor, from every corner of France, rural areas and towns, they responded to calls from nearly every French bishop to voice their opposition to same-sex “marriage.” Many large families traveled far and long by car or bus. People who had never demonstrated in their lives discovered the joy of defending their faith and their ideals together.

However, organizers had made clear that any demonstration of faith would immediately be stifled: only approved banners and slogans were allowed.

“One Daddy, one Mommy: never lie to a child!” read one. “Marriage: one man, one woman or nothing,” went another. “We are all born of a man and a woman,” “One Dad + one Mom: that’s elementary,” “Don’t touch the civil code,” “I’m a child, not a right”, “Made in Mom and Dad,” “I need a Dad and a Mom,” read others.

Besides opposing same-sex “marriage,” one of the march’s more controversial objectives was, according to organizers, to fight “homophobia.”

Frigide Barjot, as well as several of the event’s homosexual spokespeople, publicly affirmed when talking to the media that they were in favor of a “civil union” for homosexuals that can be conducted in town halls just like marriages, and which would include all the rights and obligations of marriage except filiation. That is a minority view among opponents of same-sex “marriage,” however, and many are hoping for clarification in the coming weeks.

Last week the defeated UMP party of Nicolas Sarkozy’s introduced an amendment that would create a “civil union” aimed at the homosexual community.

This author joined a small group of demonstrators – a number of priests, Catholic journalists, a group dedicated to defending Christian’s rights (AGRIF), Christians converted from Islam, Oriental Christians and families – who decided to make their position clear on Sunday, wearing stickers that read: “For Christians, it’s NO to Taubira’s law, full stop.”

Volunteers for the march tried to make these demonstrators remove the unauthorized slogans, in vain. On Saturday evening, that same group had met with Brian Brown, the president of the U.S. organization National Organization for Marriage (NOM), who came over for the march.

Another march took place on Saturday at the call of Civitas, a civic association close to the Catholic traditionalist movement of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, which was joined by a large number of the more traditional Catholic movements and associations. Its slogans were pro-life and pro-family (“La famille, c’est sacré” – “Family is sacred”) and more confrontational than those of the mainstream “Manif pour tous”, such as: “No to the decadence of society.”

One of Frigide Barjot’s main worries was to avoid confusion between the two marches. Civitas’s march was presented as “extremist” and accused of hate-mongering because of one slogan seen at its previous demonstration on November 18th when a radical right-wing group joined its ranks with a banner proclaiming “France needs children, not homosexuals.” This time round no such banners were shown.

Many joined the 40 or 50 thousand-strong group in order to mark their disagreement with the ambiguous stances adopted by some of the organizers of the “Manif pour tous.”

Civitas, however, would never have been able to put one million people on the streets of Paris. And that million represents a force that the government cannot pretend to ignore, even if it does minimize it with the help of most of the mainstream media.

Those million marchers have brought proof that same-sex “marriage” is very widely rejected, whatever the polls say, and that they have been seething to make themselves heard since the proposal to legalize it has been put forward. They have also shown the enduring influence of the Catholic Church in France, and particularly of its bishops, who have made their voices heard on the marriage issue after decades of laying low on moral issues in the public square.

Whatever the failings of the organizers of the “Manif pour tous”, they have allowed opposition to same-sex “marriage” to score a major victory. This reporter saw the tail end of the Denfert-Rochereau walking past on Sunday evening at 7:10 p.m, with still over half a mile to go before reaching the esplanade at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Marchers were still shouting, waving flags, smiling, and dancing on the parade trucks accompanying their progress, oblivious of the long night’s travelling that awaited many of them.

Proud to be there, and proud to be French!



Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Princeton Professor Robert George speaks at the Legatus conference. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

News,

Princeton’s Robert George: Are you ready to pay the price? The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

ORLANDO, February 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- “It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel,” said Princeton Professor Robert George to a large crowd at the Legatus Summit in Orlando, Florida last weekend. Professor George added that people can still safely identify as “Catholic” as long as they don’t believe, or will at least be completely silent about, “what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life.”

He said “the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call ‘political correctness,’” will still grant a comfort to a Catholic ashamed of the Gospel, “or who is willing to act publicly as if he or she were ashamed.”

The Princeton professor, who has been a leader in the fight for life and marriage, reminded his audience of Christ’s words: “If anyone wants to be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me.” “We American Catholics, having become comfortable, had forgotten, or ignored, that timeless Gospel truth. There will be no ignoring it now,” he remarked.

Are we “prepared to give public witness to the massively politically incorrect truths of the Gospel, truths that the mandarins of an elite culture shaped by the dogmas of expressive individualism and me-generation liberalism do not wish to hear spoken?” he asked.

For Catholics, and Evangelicals in America, he said, “it is now Good Friday.”  To a rousing standing ovation Professor George concluded:

The memory of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem has faded.  Yes, he had been greeted—and not long ago—by throngs of people waving palm branches and shouting ‘Hosanna to the Son of David.’  He rode into the Jerusalem of Europe and the Jerusalem of the Americas and was proclaimed Lord and King.  But all that is now in the past.  Friday has come. The love affair with Jesus and his Gospel and his Church is over.

Fearing to place in jeopardy the wealth we have piled up, the businesses we have built, the professional and social standing we have earned, the security and tranquility we enjoy, the opportunities for worldly advancement we cherish, the connections we have cultivated, the relationships we treasure, will we silently acquiesce to the destruction of innocent human lives or the demolition of marriage? Will we seek to ‘fit in,’ to be accepted, to live comfortably in the new Babylon? If so, our silence will speak.  Its words will be the words of Peter, warming himself by the fire:  ‘Jesus the Nazorean? I tell you, I do not know the man.’

The saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes, integrally, the teachings of His church on the profound and inherent dignity of the human person and the nature of marriage as a conjugal bond—a one-flesh union….

The question of faith and fidelity that is put to us today is not in the form it was put to Peter—“surely you are you this man’s disciple”—it is, rather, do you stand for the sanctity of human life and the dignity of marriage as the union of husband and wife?  These teachings are not the whole Gospel—Christianity requires much more than their affirmation.  But they are integral to the Gospel—they are not optional or dispensable.  To be an authentic witness to the Gospel is to proclaim these truths among the rest. The Gospel is, as St. John Paul the Great said, a Gospel of Life.  And it is a Gospel of family life, too.  And it is these integral dimensions of the Gospel that powerful cultural forces and currents today demand that we deny or suppress.

One day we will give an account of all we have done and failed to do. …

One thing alone will matter: let me say this with maximum clarity—whether we stood up for the truth, speaking it out loud and in public, bearing the costs of discipleship that are inevitably imposed on faithful witnesses to truth by cultures that turn away from God and his law. Or were we ashamed of the Gospel?

If we deny truths of the Gospel, we really are like Peter, avowing that “I do not know the man.”  If we go silent about them, we really are like the other apostles, fleeing in fear. But when we proclaim the truths of the Gospel, we really do stand at the foot of the cross with Mary the Mother of Jesus and John the disciple whom Jesus loved. We show by our faithfulness that we are not ashamed of the Gospel. We prove that we are truly Jesus’s disciples, willing to take up his cross and follow him—even to Calvary.

But lest we fail the test, as perhaps many will do, let us remember that Easter is coming.  Jesus will vanquish sin and death. We will experience fear, just as the apostles did—that is inevitable. Like Jesus himself in Gethsemane, we would prefer not to drink this cup.  We would much rather be acceptable Christians, comfortable Catholics. But our trust in him, our hope in his resurrection, our faith in the sovereignty of his heavenly Father can conquer fear.  By the grace of Almighty God, Easter is indeed coming. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel.  Never be ashamed of the Gospel.



Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

News

Planned Parenthood investigator Daleiden refuses plea deal: ‘What we really want is an apology’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

URGENT: Sign the petition to Harris County urging them to drop the charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Click here.

HOUSTON, February 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - This morning, Harris County prosecutor's office offered David Daleiden a plea deal. His legal team, in turn, made a counter-offer.

"The only thing we're going to accept right now is an apology," said Terry Yates, one of four attorneys who flanked Daleiden down the corridors of the courthouse as he visited two court rooms to face felony and misdemeanor charges.

He confirmed an offer had been made but was unlikely to be accepted.

Instead, Yates said that a hearing before Judge Brock Thomas of Texas District 338 had been scheduled for March 28. "At that time, we anticipate filing a couple of motions" asking that all charges be dismissed at once. "We believe the indictments are factually and legally insufficient."

"The old Texas expression 'all hat and no cattle' - that's what we believe these indictments are. There's not much to them," he said.

Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society reiterated that stance during a press conference co-hosted by LifeSiteNews at 11 a.m. local time.

When asked if Daleiden would plead guilty to lesser charges offered by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, Breen replied, "At this point, no."

"What we really want is an apology," Breen said, standing next to fellow counsel Briscoe Cain, Texas attorney for Operation Rescue. "He deserves an apology...He is innocent."

His legal team felt certain he would prevail on the substance of the charges without admitting guilt to any of them.

"The reality is David is a modern day hero," Jared Woodfill, another Daleiden attorney, told LifeSiteNews inside the courthouse. "He has exposed the wrongdoing that has been occurring at abortion clinics all across this country. And the fact that he's here today is a miscarriage of justice."

"He will be vindicated," he said.

The 27-year-old Daleiden appeared unflappable - smiling, well-groomed, wearing a black jacket, blue shirt, and black tie as he spoke briefly with reporters, including LifeSiteNews.

"I'm very grateful for all the support from the public, especially from the people of Houston," he said, some of whom held handmade signs that said "I Stand with Sandra and David" as he presented himself for booking and paid bail this morning.

Attorneys did not disclose the terms of the agreement prosecutors had offered. If convicted, Daleiden and fellow pro-life investigative journalist Sandra Merritt face up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

However, the charges could be dismissed at any time. LifeSiteNews delivered the first batch of signatures, more than 106,000, on its petition to the DA's office asking that all charges against Daleiden be dropped at once.

If that fails? "We're ready to go to trial," Woodfill told LifeSiteNews.

URGENT: Sign the petition to Harris County urging them to drop the charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Click here.



Advertisement
Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

News

First 100K petitions to drop charges against Daleiden delivered: ‘let’s double that’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
Image
LifeSiteNews reporter Lisa Bourne and the Christian Defense Coalition's Patrick Mahoney deliver LifeSiteNews' petition to the Houston DA's office.
Image

URGENT: Sign the petition to Harris County urging them to drop the charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Click here.

HOUSTON, February 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Pro-life leaders have presented more than 106,000 signatures to the Harris County district attorney's office, demanding that charges be dropped against David Daleiden.

It was the first batch of signatures to be dropped off in LifeSiteNews' ongoing petition. It asks prosecutor Devon Anderson to dismiss the charges facing Daleiden and his fellow investigator Sandra Merritt, which could result in 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

"Houston, we do have a problem," said Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition at a press conference at 11 a.m. local time.

"We are standing in solidarity and say, 'When you attack David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, you are attacking us and our community,'" Rev. Mahoney continued. "Do not proceed with these unjust indictments."

Congressman Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, sent a statement to the gathering saying, "Instead of society persecuting the truth tellers, Planned Parenthood needs to answer for their gruesome practices," as well as apologizing to adoptive families like his own, which the abortion provider has "prevented from being whole."

The local indictment, made by the Houston-area grand jury last Monday, has drawn national coverage as the first skirmish in a war between Planned Parenthood and those who sought to expose their practices.

"In delivering these petitions, I am representing more than 100,000 people who demand that these charges against this 27-year-old man and his fellow investigator be dropped at once," said LifeSiteNews reporter Lisa Bourne.

"The next move is up to the Harris County DA's office," she said, reading a statement prepared by LifeSiteNews. "These petitions prove that the world is watching."

"The indictment is another example of Planned Parenthood's bare-fisted intimidation tactics," she added, similar to campaigns taken against former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Andy Parrish, PR director for LifeSiteNews, who was in Houston with Bourne, said he was honored to tell David of the 106,000 LifeSite petition signers who were standing with him. "These signatures are just the beginning. The coalition standing behind David is growing. We've got 100,000, but let's double that."

David Daleiden addressed the crowd alongside two of his attorneys, Peter Breen and Briscoe Cain, and thanked all those who showed their support for him during his latest legal showdown.

"I just want to say thank you to everyone at LifeSiteNews and everyone who shared the petition, who signed it, and made it possible to deliver that today," Daleiden told LifeSiteNews. "It means a lot to me, and to Sandra, and to the Center for Medical Progress. Thank you for your faithfulness and for standing up for us."

URGENT: Sign the petition to Harris County urging them to drop the charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Click here.

He hoped everyone would remain united in demanding justice be done - and, like Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue, hopes that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast be indicted.

"I firmly believe that if we stay the course, if we stay together, we will bring about a day when there is no longer a price tag on human life," Daleiden said.

During the windy 45-minute-long press conference, speakers at the rostrum defended Daleiden's undercover journalism tactics in the face of sometimes hostile questions from the established press.

"No one can deny that this was the number one investigative journalism story of 2015," Rev. Mahoney said, citing statistics of the story's impact on the mainstream media.

In the new media environment of 2016, someone does not need a degree from Northwestern or Columbia to be a journalist, he said.

"He broke one of the biggest stories of the year," agreed John Hawkins of Right-Wing News, who sent in a written statement to the conference. Pressing charges against him sends a message to conservatives and Christians: "Sit down and shut up, or this just might happen to you."

"If this were a meat-packing plant investigation, there would be no question about his integrity," said Alexandra Snyder, executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation. "He would be universally lauded as a hero. I think he's a hero...for getting the truth out."

"In the meantime, we're going to do everything we can do to stand with David," she said, "and see justice prevail."



Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook