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La Manif Pour Tous? Really?

22-4-13manif-122-4-13manif-222-4-13manif-byESL-1Protest against marriage equality – photo by Erica Simone22-4-13manif-byESL-2Protest against marriage equality – photo by Erica Simone22-4-13-Haring-1Artist/Activist Keith Haring22-4-13-Haring-222-4-13-Haring-byESL-3Keith Haring exhibition – photo by Erica Simone

Paris is making up for its bad behavior, with so many gorgeously sunny days that we’re already getting a little spoiled. At least I am. Yesterday was virtually a repeat performance of last Sunday except that it was a bit cooler so there were no bare-breasted beauties on the grassy lawns, but humanity was definitely filling the streets.

At Place Denfert-Rochereau, humanity by the thousands filled the streets (organizers claim 270,000) waving blue and pink flags printed with silhouettes of a man, a woman, a son and a daughter and the words: La Manif Pour Tous — meaning “The Demo (demonstration/protest) for All.”

Really? There was nary a person of color or ethnic origin in the crowd, much less gay and not likely Jewish or Hindu or Muslim. So where was the “All?” This was White (likely) Catholic France ‘en masse’ protesting against marriages of the same sex.

My daughter wanted to go see what all the fuss was about and photographic it, but after about 30 seconds being surrounded by the protestors, she clearly felt uncomfortable and just wanted to get her shots and move out of what she called, “the negative energy.” She remarked, “They’re definitely not having as much fun as we do at the Gay Pride Parade!”

She had a point. This negative reaction to the bill which is expected to pass in the parliament on Tuesday allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children is about what? “What are they afraid of?” one friend wrote on Facebook. “Secure, confident people believe in ‘live and let live.'”

The upper house of the French parliament approved the first article by 179 votes against 157 on April 9th with the final vote scheduled this Tuesday. President Francois Hollande promised to support this bill, so he’s not winning any favor from this group opposed to it. Poor guy — he’s not winning favor these days with too many groups!

What was hilariously ironic was how the crowds of protesters passed by many posters promoting the recently opened Keith Haring “The Political Line” exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (on until August 18, 2013)! My daughter and I had the privilege of seeing the exhibition last Thursday as part of the press “vernissage” before the crowds descended upon it.

Keith Haring was both an artist and social activist whose work  expresses concepts of birth, death, sex and war. He was openly gay and a strong advocate of safe sex, and who died of AIDS in 1990. His last works were about “Sex, AIDS and Death,” but earlier, he focused on Racism, commenting “I’m glad I’m different. I’m proud to be gay. I’m proud to have friends and lovers of every color. I am ashamed of my forefathers. I am not like them.”

(Don’t miss the Haring exhibition — it’s as powerful a body of work as any artist has ever produced and you will be struck by it openness and honesty.)

By contrast, same-sex-marriage protestors claimed: “We’re here for children’s rights. We don’t want the state to be complicit in a child being deprived of a father or a mother,” said a French woman during the event. One 32 year-old woman told the AFP news agency as she fed her baby of four months: “We are here for the rights of the children…We take it as a slur when we are called homophobes or fascists.”

Can someone explain this to me?

Why would a child be denied one or the other or both by giving gay couples the right to adopt? If they don’t have the right, think of how many fewer children will be adopted and have parents at all? And how many children live with a mother and father who are unhappy in their own relationship and therefore create an unhappy home environment?

Seems to me that if two men or two women are so happy together that they want to raise a child together, that there is plenty of love to go around and a whole lot less hate — making great parents. And look how many kids go through life living with just one parent and have no second parent of either sex to provide a more stable environment?

Meanwhile, anti-gay violence is on the rise. Two gay bars, one in Lille and one in Bordeaux, were attacked by “skinheads” with ties to neo-Nazi organizations who “announced they’d “come to beat up gays.” Lovely. Now, isn’t that thoughtful?

Well, we’ll know the outcome on tuesday and if it passes, which of course, it’s expected it will, France would become the 14th nation to legalize marriage equality…another reason to enjoy “liberté, égalité, fraternité.”

A la prochaine…

adrian HHIAdrian Leeds

Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC

(As seen on the TV screen during a House Hunters International episode, viewed by her ex-stepdaughter just after having delivered her new-born daughter, Caroline! (See the newest episode this coming May 16th — “La Vie En Paris, France – Episode HHINT-5209H” at 10:30 p.m. EST and 1:30 a.m. EST.)

Respond to Adrian


judith-meriansP.S. Reserve your spot today for the workshop “Major Changes in Filmmaking and How You Can Profit from Them” presented by Judith Merians this coming Saturday, April 27 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Le Pierre du Marais. If you’ve ever wanted to work in the film industry or are a fan of film, Judith Merians will give you insider tips to make it in the film biz. Register now!

P.P.S. Congratulations to Rachel (the ex-stepdaughter) and John Harris on the birth of their second child in Knoxville, Tennessee April 19th!


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