Though many Americans have long considered France to be the epitome of liberal social attitudes, in no other country has the world seen the magnitude of a movement whose cause it is to defend traditional marriage and family.
Philip Lawler, Editor of Catholic World News, sounded envious on Tuesday:
Today, watching from this side of the Atlantic as hundreds of thousands of French citizens march in defense of marriage, I can’t help thinking that now they are building a movement, the like of which we haven’t seen here in the US. I don’t mean to denigrate the efforts of many good people who have fought every political battle. I realize that there have been rallies and marches and demonstrations. But to march the scale of the protests in Paris, we’d need to see 4-5 million people gathered in Washington to defend marriage–not once but repeatedly!
But why are so many French men and women coming together in this cause? After all, the French government has already legalized same-sex marriage, and, as social issues go, the French have been fairly resigned to others, such as legal abortion.
Lawler states he doesn’t know why, but only hopes “Christian Americans will be inspired by their example.”
Ludovine de la Rochère, president of La Manif Pour Tous, the movement opposed to France’s recently enacted same-sex marriage law, delivered a speech at a mass rally on May 26th– France’s Mother’s Day- before hundreds of thousands of advocates. She told her supporters:
We are several million who have marched peacefully over the course of the long winter months against the new law, against artificial insemination, against surrogacy for all, against homophobia. We have neither broken a window, not one, nor set fire to a single car. Nothing of the sort!
We are neither a political movement, nor a faith-based movement, nor a coalition of hateful homophobes. Our adversaries have tried everything to paint us in such a way. But they have failed, because one cannot deny that our cause is open to all who worry about the rights and well-being of children. We are people who are but mindful of the interest, the balance, and the happiness of the family.
According to de la Rochère, the traditional marriage movement has taken hold in her country “because our fundamental and universal values unite us.”
Determined that those “fundamental and universal values” focus on the “well-being of children,” de la Rochère has turned her movement into the multitude that it has become.
The activist explained:
The truth is that we do not have the same notion of equality as our opponents do. Our belief, held by most of the country, rests first on the equality of children, equality before the right to have a father and mother, that is to say, an origin and real heritage, rather than a false heritage. Based on that we have come together as atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, right, left, straight, gay. For all, the truth that we owe to the child is sacred. We do not want children’s lives to be woven around lies, nor do we want gender studies ideology to triumph.
“France has awoken!” de la Rochère exclaimed to the crowd, noting that her movement has history on its side. “All the generations are here and among them, fathers and mothers and youths, each one keeping watch over us, over all of France, in silence, peaceful.”
The activist asserted that, despite the mocking and libelous comments of the left, the huge gathering of those who value traditional marriage and family will win out in the end. Underscoring the magnitude of her movement, de la Rochère said:
We have carried out a historic mobilization. The Manif pour Tous is the biggest social movement that France has known since May 1968. Let us take stock of what we have accomplished: We are a social force, we are powerful and determined and organized. This success is owed principally to three causes: our lack of self-interest (for we are thinking of future generations), our concern to protect the weakest among us, our respect for the other.
“Tomorrow will never be the same,” de la Rochère triumphantly announced, despite the apparent targeting and harassment of her movement by the government and its agencies.
“We have protested while respecting the laws of the Republic; they have reacted as the apparatchiks of a totalitarian state, and I choose my words carefully,” de la Rochère said.
She then asked a question, a version of which Americans have heard recently: “Are we still living in a true democracy?” seemed to echo Rep. Kevin Brady’s (R-TX) question of IRS commissioner Steven Miller: “Is this still America?”
Remaining focused on the needs of children, de la Rochère challenged the commonplace “equality” argument in favor of same sex marriage by turning it upside down.
“Their mouths overflow with the words ‘equality of man and woman.’ She said. “But why should marriage not be a place of equality, too, so that a child will be raised by man and woman? What a strange idea!”
“These are dangerous times,” de la Rochère admitted, but, undaunted, she called to those outside of France who understand the seriousness of the cause of children.
“This is a question of humanity, its future, the future of man and woman, our children, and their freedoms,” she affirmed. “Our task is huge, but it is essential. We are numerous in France and in foreign lands too. The whole world watches us, because once again the French have dared to rise up against the tyranny of a minority and its colluders.”
First Things has the full text of de la Rochère’s speech.