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PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - On Sunday, October 16, 200,000 people took to the streets of Paris march in favor of marriage, urging politicians and voters to repeal France's same-sex marriage law before the upcoming presidential primary and election in 2017. Since gay marriage was legalized in the country in 2013, La Manif Pour Tous (Demonstration for All) has organized several large-scale marches in opposition.
Participants gathered in the western section of Paris and marched towards the Eiffel Tower waving blue and pink flags and carrying signs with slogans that read "A father and a mother — it's hereditary," "All together for the family," and "In 2017, I'll vote for the family."
"Even if the gay marriage law has been adopted, we will continue the protest to show that it is not good and we want it to be repealed," another participant said. "We want to influence the political debate that will take place in the coming months."
Another demonstrator explained that he was there because he wants a "return to the principles of Christian civilization in terms of family, institutions and work."
Marchers also protested against surrogate pregnancies, assisted reproduction technology and adoption by same-sex couples.
Police arrested several women from the radical feminist group Femen, who — per their modus operandi — appeared topless in protest against the pro-family rally. In total, 13 were arrested in clashes between demonstrators and the feminists.
In spite of the Manif's overwhelming numbers year after year, Conservative presidential nominee and France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy says if he is elected he will not repeal gay marriage laws.
"I believe France has many other important issues to deal with such as security, terrorism and unemployment," Sarkozy commented, "rather than recreate conditions for another hysterical debate."
Currently Sarkozy is behind Alain Juppe in the polls for the Conservative nominee for next year's presidential election.
Manif Pour Tous started organizing rallies in 2013, after then-Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira introduced a law to legalize gay marriage — passed by parliament despite overwhelming public opposition.
The 2013 march gathered 1.4 million people, a number who identified as Catholic. It was one of the biggest public demonstrations in France's history.
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