Catholics against same-sex marriage took to the streets of Paris to protest President Francois Hollande's plans to legalize both gay marriage and gay adoption over the weekend. The protesters were met by Femen, a Ukrainian activist group whose members went topless and donned nun habits in support of gay marriage.
On Sunday, the Catholic group Civitas organized the march of several thousand anti-gay protesters in Paris, according to the Associated Press.
Topless Femen activists dressed as nuns met the Catholic protesters, according to Gay Star News. The "nuns" sprayed powdered "sperm" from bottles and chanted pro-gay slogans. They donned the phrase "In Gay We Trust" on their bare chests.
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However, things turned hostile when the anti-gay protestors reportedly began assaulting activists.
French feminist writer Caroline Fourest told the Associated Foreign Press that the pro-family marchers "ran after [Femen], raging." Femen members allegedly attacked with punches and hurled objects, according to Gay Star News.
Femen posted about the violence on Facebook: "French religious nationalists have beaten the FEMEN sextremists during the homophobic catholic demonstration against gey [sic] marriage. FEMEN came to express our support to gey [sic] people." Two of the members have reportedly identified their attackers. One of the victims suffered a broken nose, the other lost a tooth.
Police said that about 9,000 people showed up to Sunday's march, according to AFP. Anti-gay protesters carried banners with slogans such as, "France needs children, not homosexuals."
Despite the fact that Hollande's government and its allies condemned the violence, Civitas official Alain Escada told AFP, "Our objective is to wage a real battle to protect the family and child." Escada said gay marriage is "a Pandora's box" that may be the catalyst for the extension of marriage rights to polygamists and incestuous people.
Sunday's protest followed a protest on Saturday dubbed the "March for Everyone," which included pro-family and Catholic groups, according to the AP. Thousands marched to the Invalides monument, Napeolon Bonaparte's final resting place, in a symbolic nod to France's marriage code, established by Bonaparte. A new marriage bill would legalize same-sex unions by dissolving the bill that says marriage is between a man and a woman. Gay adoption would be approved by replacing entries in a child's registry book from "father" and "mother" to "parent 1" and "parent 2."
The majority of French citizens support gay marriage, according to Reuters, but not the right for homosexuals to adopt.
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