Friday, 31 May 2013

La manif pour tous and L'avenir pour tous

Frigide Barjot, who has been the most prominent of the spokesmen and spokeswomen of the movement La Manif pour tous has, since the large demonstration on 26th May, launched a new movement L'Avenir pour tous. This represents a split from La Manif pour tous, who, at the date of posting, no longer include her among their list of spokesmen. Also absent from that list is the representative of a gay movement that was opposed to the legalisation of same sex marriage, who has joined Frigide Barjot in founding her new movement.

The reason for the split? Frigide Barjot has been defending the idea of a form of civil union, other than marriage, for same sex couples, and this has not been shared by all those represented in the La manif pour tous collective. For this reason, and to avoid discord at the rally on 26th May, Frigide Barjot did not take part in the march itself and did not appear on the platform at Les Invalides (though she was very warmly thanked from the stage in her absence). Press reports on the day suggested that she had received threats from the extreme right.

La manif pour tous have updated their account of their position: Comprendre l'essentiel. Even accepting that the political context in France is different than that in the UK (the French have no equivalent to our civil partnerships), the articulation of the opposition to same sex marriage seems much better. In particular, the focus on the right of children to be born of a mother and father and a critique of "gender theory" have been largely absent from the public debate here. The President of the movement (formerly a media spokeswoman for the French Catholic Bishops Conference) Ludovine de la Rochère has committed to a continued activity on the part of the movement.

The split to form L'Avenir pour tous does prompt a re-reading of a paragraph from the Considerations of the Sacred Congregation for Doctrine in 2003:
In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.

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