The Place de la Bastille is the place where demonstration typically start.
60,000 people took to the streets yesterday in Paris to demonstrate for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons. The number comes from police estimates. Concurrent demonstrations were held in other cities and it has been estimated by organizers that as many as 200,000 people may have participated. The march was organized by Inter-LGBT.
France has always been considered comparatively liberal on the subject of homosexuality since sexual activity between same sex couples has been legal since the Revolution. However, in recent years, progress in this area has lagged behind some other European countries.
The current French president, Francois Hollande, who took office on May 15, campaigned on a promise to render French marriage laws gender neutral. Currently, same sex couples have available to them a form of civil union known as PACS, also available to heterosexual couples.
About an hour before the scheduled demonstration, people began to gather on the steps of the Opera Bastille.
A man writes on the back of a woman's shirt, "Better a gay marriage than a sad marriage."
There are important limitations to PACS. Same sex couples are unable to adopt children together, nor can a person adopt the biological child of a partner. Furthermore, only married, medically infertile couples are allowed by law to access assisted reproduction, ironically among the best in the world and comprehensively financed by the health system for heterosexual couples.
A handfull of people holding a Pirate Party flag.
Two men wearing Guy Fawkes masks look on from the steps of the opera house.
On November 7th, Hollande's administration proposed a bill which would render laws regarding marriage and adoption gender neutral. Since the Socialist Party has a majority in both houses of Parlaiment, it is expected to pass. However, conservative groups have voiced objections. The bill does not permit state financing of assisted reproduction for same sex couples.
People with flags representing the Greens waiting for the mach with a rainbow flag that says "Climate."
Some of the crowd.
Young women with their torsos painted in rainbow colors.
A band kept everyone entertained.
"Our Love Is Stronger Than Your Hate."
The sign on the left needs no translation, but if anyone can tell me what an ump is I'd love to know.
A couple of couples.
I took a load of pictures and had a hard time choosing which ones to post. If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll see if I can get some more of them up on the internet.
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