Several hundred thousand people rallied against marriage equality in France Sunday, but the apparent success of the protest seems to reflect the influence of American groups more than anything. Multiple news reports refer to a coalition of groups led by the Catholic Church’s hierarchy — as well as some evangelical Christian and Muslim groups — that organized the protest, but none of those groups are recognized by name. What’s clear, though, is that the U.S.-based National Organization for Marriage is playing a significant role in France’s debate on same-sex marriage.
On Friday, NOM’s Brian Brown announced he was in France for the protest, and the group spent last week pushing the “gays against gay marriage” meme featuring anti-gay French Catholics. NOM also highlighted a series of offensive French editorial cartoons that imply same-sex parents are incapable of raising happy children because the children will only care about the parent of a different gender they don’t have. Jeremy Hooper also discovered that NOM is responsible for a French “Let Us Vote” site encouraging the country to support a public vote on civil rights. Brown offered this reflection from the protest:
You see, the French people know in their bones that every child deserves a mother and father. And so they took to the streets – hundreds of thousands of them!
I am proud to be a part of this historic moment in France. [...]
They held signs that read “Une papa, une maman pour TOUS les enfants! — which means “A dad, a mom for ALL children.” Some children held signs that read “Made in papa + maman”: “Made in mom and dad.”
I have been so excited to be part of this new international solidarity movement in defense of marriage, children and family.
As Alvin McEwen notes, NOM offers no consideration for the many children who have no parents at all to raise them. The implication of their message, as it has always been, is that same-sex parenting somehow harms children, a myth with no foundation. Perhaps the organization is dismayed by its recent losses in the U.S. and is trying to bolster their own egos by exporting their message, or perhaps they feel they can only be successful in societies where public understanding and visibility of same-sex families has not advanced as much. Either way, it’s clear that NOM is betraying its own “national” mission to condemn same-sex families the world over.