Large Paris march to support gay marriage plan
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
PARIS (Reuters) - Supporters of same-sex marriage and adoption marched through Paris on Sunday to back the French government's planned reform and counter unexpectedly strong opposition from conservative and religious groups.
Police said about 60,000 demonstrators turned out, fewer than the 100,000 who protested last month against the law due to be passed by mid-2013. Paris's gay mayor Bertrand Delanoe joined the march along with several other left-wing politicians.
Marching along to drumbeats and jazz music, the protesters waved rainbow flags and held up signs saying "liberty, equality, dignity" and "hate is not a family value." One sign announced "wedding gifts for gays will boost the economy."
Among their chants was "Oui, oui, oui" (yes, yes, yes) in support of same-sex marriage, adoption rights for gay couples and access to assisted procreation methods such as artificial insemination.
The Socialist government's bill would legalize gay marriage and adoption, but not assisted procreation. Left-wing deputies plan to add that option to the law, a step President Francois Hollande did not initially support but has now conceded.
One protester carried a sign urging Hollande's government to move faster. "We have the impression the politicians are less ready for this than citizens are," said Elise Cabanes from Paris.
OPPOSITION ENCOURAGED SUPPORTERS
Latest polls show that about 60 percent of the French support the legalization of marriage for homosexuals, but only 46 percent think they should be able to adopt children. Continued...