While Americans appear transfixed by a Supreme Court case over the legalization of homosexual marriage, nearly 1.5 million proponents of traditional marriage marched in Paris to protest the French government’s plans to legalize same-sex marriage.
The French government tried to ban the event, and police issued an order denying the right to march on the Champs-Elysées.
Frigide Barjot, the demonstration’s figurehead, had previously announced that even if access to the Champs-Elysées were to be forbidden the march would still go ahead.
When Parisian police realized that the march would proceed despite orders to the contrary, they estimated the potential crowd at 100,000. But to their shock, about 1.4 million demonstrators showed up.
About 200 demonstrators broke through police lines onto the Champs-Elysées and police used tear gas and batons against them.
Despite the demonstrations, the French government is proceeding with plans to allow same-sex marriage, with legislation spearheaded by Socialist President Francois Hollande.
Banners held up along the march route read: “We want work not gay marriage” and “No to gayxtremism”.
The French Senate on April 2 is expected to start debating the bill the National Assembly approved last month by a 329-229 vote margin.