Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits
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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.

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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!

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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