Unificationist Helen S. joined other French Unificationists and hundreds of thousands of people, waving blue and pink flags showing a father, mother and two children, as they demonstrated in Paris on Sunday, January 13, 2013, to defend traditional marriage.
For Helen, an American who joined the Unification Church in New York City in 1967 and moved to France after she was Blessed in marriage to a French citizen in 1975, this demonstration made her change her opinion of French society. “For all the years I’ve lived here, we, the Unificationist community of seven families in Northern France, have been living in a sort of underground church, because our own values didn’t seem to be reflected in a very anti-religious society.” Helen asked that her surname not be used for fear of discrimination in the workplace by militantly atheistic authorities.
“We still can’t be really open about who we are in our faith, but with this issue of defending marriage we can at last work together with other groups in France, because we share the same values,” Helen added. “French people seem to have woken up to the fact that they need values for their society and they are willing to stand up for those values. So, if they continue this fight to uphold the traditional family unit, I’ll join them in their fight.”
“Three columns of relaxed, joyous and determined demonstrators merged on the Champs de Mars park at the Eiffel Tower in a very well-organized demonstration,” said Helen of her first-hand account to Unificationnews. “There were more than 60 buses that came from my region in the North of France. In total there were more than 900 buses that traveled from all over France and high-speed trains were hired to bring people to the rally. There was a real mixture of people - lots of young people, families, children, older people from all different races.”
The massive turnout of French people who took to the streets to express that every child deserves a mother and a father was in response toward Socialist French President François Hollande’s plan to enact a same-sex marriage and adoption law known as “Marriage for All” by June.
The rally was widely portrayed as “anti-gay” by major media outlets, but “protesters insisted that the march was not anti-gay and was meant to defend the rights of children to have both a father and mother,” reported ABC.
“We love homosexuals, but a child must be born from a man and a woman, and the law must respect that,” said Virginie Tellene, a reactionary French humorist and TV host who goes by the moniker “Frigide Barjot” and led the “La Manif Pour Tous” or “March for All” protest.
Barjot read out a letter to Hollande asking him to draft the bill and hold an extended public debate on the issue, Reuters reported. “In her speech, Frigide Barjot hit the nail on the head,” wrote Pierre Tardy, a French-American Unificationist. “The issue is the right of children to have a mother and a father who represents their identity, lineage, and history.” Tardy added: “Today this right of the child can be bought on the market place by people who do not want to get married to someone of the complementary sex but rather who want access to children. The issue is also about the future equality of children who are motherless or fatherless compared to those who are raised by their father and mother.”
“I believe that Frigide Barjot's speech in Paris during the Pro-Marriage Rally this past Sunday, where she brought more than one million people to the street on a cold day in January, should have a place in history - it's a crystal-clear, amazing manifesto for the human-rights issue of marriage,” wrote Tardy. “This speech belongs with those given by Zola, Luther, and Jefferson. She is the New Joan of Arc of France."
Tardy provided the speech to the blog English Manif, which translated the speech and claimed in its article “J’Accuse 2013” that Barjot’s five minute speech “was one of the most important speeches of our age.”
Brian S. Brown, the president of National Organization for Marriage, wrote in his blog, “I am proud to be a part of this historic moment in France…and have been so excited to be part of this new international solidarity movement in defense of marriage, children and family.”
“There were signs that read ‘Une papa, une maman pour tous les enfants! –which means “A dad, a mom for all children,’” Brown further wrote. “Some children held signs that read ‘Made in papa + maman.’”
“There was one slogan we chanted loud and clear-- ‘One Mama, One Papa, True Parents’-- which almost made me cry,” Helen added.
The “March for All” organizers claimed in a press release after the demonstration that more than one million people marched in Paris and convened at the park at the Eiffel Tower. “The ‘authorities’ count of 340,000 was more a slap in the face for us [the protesters],” said Helen. However that is high, even in protest-prone France, the New York Times reported.
“I didn’t get to see other Unificationists from elsewhere who participated because the rally was so large, but I am sure we were well represented,” said Helen. “I would have absolutely no problem working with them, [La Manif Pour Tous] pro-marriage demonstrators, again with all my heart and soul. I am so fed up with the Socialist point of view, and find it so refreshing to find other people who share the same point of view.”