Opposing homosexuality (in France)

Since 18 May, same-sex marriage has been legal in France. Despite the rather obvious nature for why you should support it, many still oppose it.

From the New York Times:

Thousands of French marched on Sunday, France’s Mother’s Day, to protest the recent legalization of gay marriage. Despite initial worries, the demonstration was largely peaceful, with the police estimating that about 150,000 people took part.

150,000. That’s quite a bit.

Of course, the actual number of those who really think or oppose gay marriage might be less. But then we might have the lazy homophobes who didn’t attend or were away. Or who killed themselves on the Notre Dame altar.

On May 21, seventy-eight-year-old historian and writer Dominique Venner, known for his extreme-right-wing positions, shot himself on the altar of Notre Dame in front of fifteen hundred visitors after professing his support for ongoing demonstrations on his blog. (source)

It’s good that the actual demonstration was peaceful. But I’m still confused as to their reasoning. I don’t want to dismiss them as acting merely from a religious perspective, since as the National Interest article indicates, it’s not just religious people opposing.

Like many topics involving sex and marriage and relationships, many aspects of a society and an individual’s ethics arise: What family means, what relationships mean, consent between adults, etc.

Indeed, as I highlighted recently on Big Think, my ongoing interest in sex is based on how much it reveals on many important moral topics. Sex, like same-sex marriage in general, isn’t something I consider worthy of moral interest: but my continuing and ongoing discussions and arguments arise because of how many think the complete opposite – to the detriment of others. And it is this that should motivate us to defend same-sex marriage, women’s equality, etc., even if we are not ourselves gay or women.


  1. smrnda says

    I think a lot of opposition to same-sex marriage is a kind of gut level shock/disgust and isn’t based on anything rational at all. Opponents try to come up with rationalizations, but I think that they’re kind of post hoc, mostly because they seem so weak and unpersuasive.

  2. CaitieCat says

    I think there’s a degree of nationalism involved with the sense of disgust that smrnda rightly highlights; there’s a feeling in the French coverage of this that this will bring glorious France down to the level of other nations*. During the protests, for instance, it’s become common to have a dead effigy of Marianne (the French version of Britannia or Columba, the “national spirit”). We see this in the US, too, with people regularly talking about how “America will be destroyed” or “brought low” by allowing more rights for gays or women.

    * Leaving aside the whole “everything since 1870” bit.

  3. Ms Anne Thrope says

    Two points:
    1) I think we can divide the number of participants by at least 2, since it seemed like every parent dragged along at least two kids under the age of 15 with them. Seriously, seeing 5 and 6 yr olds, waving little flags with the traditional “Maman, Papa, enfants” picture was nauseating.
    2) Also, a lot of the anti-marriage sentiment seemed to be against the idea of a gay couple having a right to have kids- whether by adoption/IVF or whatever, which was also tagged onto this law.

    I wouldnt not discount the influence of religion either. The majority of people around my age (mid 20s) would describe themselves as non-religious, but they still get married in a Church, baptise their kids.. etc. Their traditions are solely religious based, its a awfully pervasive influence.