In Britain, same sex marriage has largely been a “meh” issue. Much of the opposition seems to be inspired by frustration at the misplaced priorities of our political elite; people are less against it than they can’t see the point of it – beyond making David Cameron look a little less nasty. And so it has passed us by with little more than a dull debate in the Commons and the comic outing of a Cardinal who was hitherto “homosceptic”. It’s all been so very British.
Not so in France, where it’s turned incredibly French. It’s surprising to discover that, in a country with a proud tradition of secularism and political liberalism, only a slight majority of Frenchmen support the bill to legalise gay marriage that faces the National Assembly on Tuesday – and opinion is evenly split on a parallel bill to let gay people adopt children. More remarkable still has been the scale of the opposition's street protests: the largest drew 340,000 to Paris in a demonstration of popular will normally associated with the Left. This has received very limited coverage in the European and American mainstream media, where there also seems to be a veritable blackout about the state’s violent response.
A video surfaced yesterday of a confrontation between police and Catholic protestors that began when the latter refused to vacate the space they were using for their demonstration. Around 4 minutes in a young man is thrown to the ground. A priest appears to come to his aid and refuses to let go of him. The cops drag the couple apart and pull the priest towards their vans. Around 4.41 you can clearly see one of the policemen kick the cleric in the head. Blink and you’ll miss it, but I’m sure he felt it all the same. Sadly, this scene has not been unique. This newspaper has reported the use of tear gas on crowds and I’ve received anecdotal reports of children maced and protesters beaten. Much of it can only be found on Catholic blogs and ultra conservative websites –but it’s there in blood red for all to see.
Read more at Telegraph Blog.