Final French Marriage Vote: April 23rd
for the final time on April 23rd after a second reading of the bill this Wednesday.
It was approved by the lower house National Assembly in February, by the upper house Senate last week, and is now due to return to the assembly on Wednesday for a second reading. On Monday, the executive branch of the National Assembly decided to implement a procedure that limits debate to a fixed period of time -- a measure that aims to avoid parliamentary obstruction.More than one hundred anti-gay activists were detained by police in the last 48 hours as they attempted to set up protest camps over the stabbing of an anti-gay activist. News reports have debunked their claim that the assault had to do with the marriage bill.
It set the amount of time allowed for debate on the bill to just 25 hours and the date for the final vote to April 23. Christian Jacob, head of the right-wing UMP party's faction in the assembly, denounced the move as a "total humiliation of parliament" and opponents of the bill called for fresh demonstrations next week.
On Monday, 70 opponents to the bill were detained after trying to put up tents in front of the National Assembly in a bid to protest against the assault Saturday of a UMP activist known for his views against gay marriage. On Sunday, 56 other opponents had also been detained near the Senate. "I condemn all this violence, what is happening is very worrying," Jean-Francois Cope, head of the UMP, said Monday on BFMTV. "The president is so closed to any discussion, any flexibility, that we're not getting anywhere."On Saturday the leader of the anti-gay Manif Pour Tous vowed that "there will be blood" when the bill is finalized. The group is planning a massive protest for May 26th.
UPDATE: JMG reader David in Paris sends us this translation of a press release from Manif Pour Tour regarding the camping protests.
Democracy and freedom of expression flouted once again! By refusing once again to allow freedom of expression in opposition to the "marriage for all" [bill], are Mr. Hollande and Mr. Valls setting up a political police?
Around 1 AM, this morning, some 70 young people were arrested outside the National Assembly while simply seated and perfectly calm. They were joined by Senator Pozzo di Borgo, who was even wearing his [senatorial] sash and were pacifically expression their opposition to the "marriage for all" legislative bill.
Manif Pour Tous offers its full support for Camping Pour Tous. They have done nothing wrong that would warrant their detention; which has now gone beyond 12 hours. Manif pour Tous has asked its lawyers to give them legal advice. France is clearly ruled by a clan that resorts to methods typical of a police regime. We'll never give up, ever!