France

Paris's annual gay pride parade takes political tone

Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Tens of thousands of people gathered in the French capital of Paris on Saturday for the annual gay pride parade. The event comes exactly one month after France celebrated its first same-sex marriage, making this year's parade particularly important in the eyes of gay rights activists.

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Amidst booming techno music, the march wove through the Paris streets, beginning in the Montparnasse neighbourhood before making its way to Place de la Bastille for the traditional dance party.

Several left-wing politicians joined the march in support, with Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, Housing Minister Cécile Duflot and the Socialist Party General Secretary Harlem Désir holding a banner reading “LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender], let’s fight for equality!”

Other banners in the crowd called for legalising assisted procreation methods, an element which was initially part of France’s same-sex marriage and adoption discussion but was eventually scrapped.

This year’s gay pride parade took a more political tone, just one month after President François Hollande’s government voted to legalise same-sex unions.

In the months preceding the law, opposition groups protested in record numbers against gay marriage and adoption, before it came into effect on 18 May. Opposition protesters have continued their demonstrations since the law was instated.

Martine, who said she comes every year to the parade, said this year was different.

“We absolutely have to be here. People need to get over their fears.”

Vincent Autin et Bruno Boileau were the first gay couple to be officially wed in France,  on 29 May in the southern town of Montpellier.
 

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