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Protests in two capitals oppose gay marriage

28 March 2013


Heated: police watch over conflicting protesters in London on Sunday

Heated: police watch over conflicting protesters in London on Sunday

SIMULTANEOUS rallies against same-sex marriage were staged in the British and French capitals on Sunday, as the governments of both countries consider plans to make it legal.

But, while the demonstration by about 2000 people in Trafalgar Square passed off with only minor confrontation between opposing sides, the Paris protest descended into a battle between campaigners and riot police, who used tear gas to disperse a crowd estimated at up to 1.4 million.

In London, children with banners bearing the message "Uphold marriage" lined the steps to Nelson's Column. The former leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance, Alan Craig, said that Britain and France were now united by a "willingness to stand up against sudden attacks on the vital institution of marriage".Counter-demonstrators, however, chanted "Shame on you" and "No bigots here."

A member of the General Synod, Canon Chris Sugden, who is the executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream, told the crowd: "If gender is taken out of the definition of marriage through these proposals, marriage will cease to be marriage. . .

"Even to say that marriage is between a man and a woman is held to stigmatise those who believe that marriage should be without gender. . . Gender is being taken out of marriage on the ground of equality. This is a new sort of equality - no one must be given any reason for feeling unequal to anyone else. This new equality trumps everything."

In Paris, where a former government minister and president of the Christian Democratic party, Christine Boutin, was one of the tear-gas victims, police denied that they had overreacted, and said that extremists had tried to march on the Elysée Palace. The organisers, Manif Pour Tous (March for All), demanded the resignation of the Interior Minister and the police chief.


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