Gay Pride marchers in Paris demand legal reform
Tens of thousands of gay rights supporters marched through Paris Saturday to mark the 10th Gay Pride weekend, buoyed by New York's move to legalise same-sex marriage.
City mayor Bertrand Delanoe and a host of politicians joined those taking part in the event organised by rights group Inter-LGBT and involving more than 80 associations.
The march came in the wake of a vote mid-June by the national assembly that rejected a socialist bid to legalise gay marriage.
Although the left voted for the plan, a large proportion of the UMP-New Centre majority were opposed.
According to a poll of a 1,000 people for the Dimanche Ouest-France newspaper however, 63 percent back the idea, with almost the same proportion (58 percent) backing the right of same-sex couples to adopt.
Voters on the right are less enthusiastic, with 41 percent in favour of gay marriage and 37 percent for adoption.
"It's not yet the time to say who to vote for but it's about saying to politicians, from now on, that we won't give up when it comes to this issue," Inter-LGBT spokesman Nicolas Gougain said ahead of the march.
The event had as its slogan "Marching for equality in 2011, I'll vote in 2012," in reference to the upcoming presidential election.
Among the participants were the Socialist Party's Jack Lang and Emmanuel Blanc, president of Gaylib, the UMP's gay association, who wrote on his blog in April: "If you want our vote, give us our rights!"
The decision by New York senators to approve the Marriage Equality Act is giving hope to activists, Gougain said.
"It shows that others are progressing, while we in France are going nowhere," he said.
Inter-LGBT is calling for the legal recognition of gay families, of same-sex marriage, the right for gay couples to adopt and a law making it easier for transexuals to change their civil status.
The march was set to conclude at Bastille square at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) with a evening of entertainment including a performance by singer Arielle Dombasle.
Last year's march attracted 99,000 people, according to police estimates: organisers put the number much higher at 800,000.
© 2011 AFP