-- Catholic News Agency
French Marriage Advocates Rally Support Amid Debate
PARIS, FRANCE, February 7 (CNA/EWTN News) .- A coalition of marriage supporters are rallying support for the institution, organizing conferences, marches, and petitions, as France's parliament continues debate over same-sex marriage.
On Feb. 5, the National Assembly or the lower house of the French parliament, approved adoption by same-sex couples and voted to change the procedure for bestowing surnames on newborns.
Reacting to the news, the group "La Manif Pour Tous," or "March For All," said the move defies the will of "55 percent of Frenchmen" who are "are against the adoption of a child by two people of the same sex."
Three days prior on Feb. 2, the National Assembly also approved a key article of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the nation.
The bill as a whole continues to be debated in the National Assembly this week, after deputies voted in favor of defining marriage as between two persons, regardless of sex, by a margin of 249 to 97.
Same-sex marriage is supported by the ruling Socialist party, and is opposed by the Union for a Popular Movement party.
"We are happy and proud to have taken this first step," said Justice Minister Christiane Taubira. "We are going to establish the freedom for everyone to choose his or her partner for a future together."
La Manif Pour Tous held a conference in Paris Feb. 6 featuring "the deputies who heroically lead the fight against this bill...for the opportunity to receive congratulations and encouragement from the public and citizens.."
The bill faces a final vote in the National Assembly Feb. 12. The Senate is due to review the bill beginning March 11.
La Manif Pour Tous is planning a march in Paris to be held March 24. Their online petition protesting the bill has already gathered over 276,000 signatures.
The group held a Parisian march Jan. 13, which - according to Bruno Dary, the former military governor of the city of Paris - drew between 1.3 and 1.5 million people.
Demonstrators included wide range of participants, many with no reported religious affiliation. Numerous gay individuals took part in the event, with slogans including "We're more gay without marriage."
Attendees also included French gay city mayor, Jean Marc, who is outspokenly opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage, as well as members from the organization HOMOVOX, which stands for "one voice for homosexuals."
Those within the Muslim community, of which many had voted for president Francois Hollande for his immigration policies, were also at the event in disapproval of his plans to legalize gay marriage.
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