The recent legalization of same-sex marriage in France has not settled matters, as debate over the issue continues.
Proponents of changing the definition of marriage often appeal to tolerance, understanding and acceptance of those who are different to support their position. Now that France has responded to this appeal those who do not agree with the change are finding that there is no space for opposition.
The organization C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute) reported that French authorities “have decided pro-family demonstrators are a public threat.”
“They have been subject to baseless identity checks, arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as police brutality through physical assaults and tear gas,” C-FAM reported late last week.
The article referred to reports in the French newspaper Le Figaro that said there have been 1,000 arrests and 500 detentions since May 26 of people who expressed their disagreement with same-sex marriage.
C-FAM contrasted the behavior of police, when during violent riots erupted following a victory of the Paris soccer team in May only 11 people were arrested, to how nearly 300 people were arrested at a pro-marriage demonstration the same month.
Videos of the protests show French riot police charging peaceful protesters and families with children and elderly or disabled French citizens blinded by tear gas, according to C-FAM.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe conducted a hearing on the protests and according to the European Centre for Law and Justice there is evidence of brutality “against the social movement in defence of the family, which challenges the law opening
marriage and adoption of children to same-sex couples.”
The protest against the change to marriage laws is, according to the European Centre for Law and Justice, the largest social protest in France since May 1968.
A report submitted by the European Centre for Law and Justice contained numerous personal accounts by people who alleged the use of excessive force by authorities.
“At the slightest movement of the crowd, the police immediately and repeatedly used tear
gas to contain them and to cause them to disperse,” the report said in describing a protest by around a million persons on March 24.
“Nobody was spared: women, children, elderly, disabled: people were trampled on and
beaten. A woman was even crushed by a police van,” the report said.