La Manif Pour Tous Still Rallies to Protect the Family

La Manif Pour Tous Protest Photo: Eleni Zaras

La Manif Pour Tous Protest
Photo: Eleni Zaras

Weeks after the same-sex marriage bill passed into law in France, La Manif Pour Tous partook in a mass demonstration in Paris on May 26. In the spirit of mother’s day, they hoped to advocate for the protection of the traditional family.  The police counted 150,000 people to be in attendance, but the event organizers’ report claimed the number of people to be closer to one million. Yet, despite a larger turnout, one supporter griped, “we are more than a million, but no one listens to us.”

Maintaining the status of a comfortable moderate organization is proving to be a struggle, as the leaders, including Frigide Barjot, have reportedly been receiving threats from both extreme left and right wing groups.

However, the demonstration was not solely oriented around a desire to repeal the same-sex marriage law.  The event, more importantly, emphasized the movement’s desire to unify for the future, rather than remain a temporal, extremist, or fringe group only relevant to the drafting of the same-sex marriage law. When there is a mix of people from far right supporters in extreme Catholic groups to those who claim to be anti gay-marriage but not anti-gay, the unity within the movement will inevitably falter at times. Yesterday furnished a moment of rapport. The dense crowds of friends and families did not seem disparate but shared excitement, gathering with flags and signs and dressed in pink and blue.

Despite any internal senses of unbalance, a few things are still clear: 1) People are frustrated by the government and journalists who are, as one attendee articulated, “not doing their job”; 2) This is an extremely well endowed organization with loyal followers who continue to support such large-scale events and demonstrations; and 3) These demonstrators hope to ground this movement in France’s tradition and history to pave the way for future reforms.

While women dressed as Marianne, the national emblem of France, and posed on stage, a mix of contemporary pop music to Edith Piaf blared from the speakers. 18-year-old demonstrators reminisced about events from Mitterrand’s term.

The moderate masses attending these events are not losing hope but seem only more dedicated to strengthening the ties amongst their followers. One demonstrator, Eric, age 53 confessed, “It was a short term battle we lost, but now we’re entering a long term war.”


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