The National Organization for Marriage released a press release Tuesday afternoon — seemingly hours after France’s National Assembly had already passed marriage equality — urging French citizens to continue contacting lawmakers to express their opposition. The press release was notable in that it was the first time NOM acknowledged that anti-gay groups were engaging in violent protests after denying any responsibility just days earlier. Still, NOM’s Brian Brown tried to suggest both sides were responsible for the violence:
We urge all French citizens to contact lawmakers to express their strong opposition to this policy. We also call on all citizens to conduct themselves honorably and peacefully. Even though the same-sex marriage policy being foisted on an unwilling public is profoundly unwise and anti-family, no citizen should ever express their disapproval through violent means. We condemn in the strongest possible terms violence by anyone on either side of this debate.
In the hours after Tuesday’s final vote in Parliament, violence had continued almost exclusively among opponents of the marriage legislation. Protesters threw stones, bottles, and iron bars at police units and police retaliated with tear gas. Around 50 people were arrested. Watch a video of protesters blocking a street and resisting police Tuesday night: