Paris’ gay pride festivities this weekend enjoyed unparalleled attendance levels and optimism among parade-goers, fuelled by the new government’s promise to legalise gay marriages and allow gay couples to adopt.
Organizers say approximately 700,000 people took place this year in Paris’s gay pride which was exceptionally energised given France’s newly elected socialist government’s pledge to swiftly legalise gay marriages and adoption rights.
‘This is a special parade because it is the first time we have a government, a president, a parliament who are in favour of progress,’ said Nicolas Gougain, spokesperson for gay rights group Inter-LGBT, to the French daily Le Figaro.
A day before the march, Dominique Bertinotti, the new minister for families, told the daily Le Parisien: ‘In one year, same-sex couples will be able to marry and adopt. They will have the same rights and the same responsibilities as any other married couple.’
This was confirmed by a statement released by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s office on the same day, although an exact date was not given.
Bertinotti also attend the launch of pride stating: ‘I go everywhere where the future of the family is at stake, every bit of social progress benefits society as a whole’.
She also added that she was ‘confident’ the law ‘would be passed in 2013’.
The positive outlook is partly attributed to the record level of attendance at the Pride parade that made its way from Montparnasse to the iconic Place de la Bastille.
Paris pride was hosted by director and actress Zabou Breitman and actor Charles Berling and this year’s motto was ‘l’Égalité n’attend plus!’ – ‘Equality can’t wait!’.
Activist Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner from the Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort group told me: ‘It was extraordinary, I’ve never seen such attendance, and I’ve participated for many years in pride marches, campaigning against the death penalty.
‘It was very festive due to the government’s announcement, it was really dynamic and diverse – so many people of different ages, origins, participated, it was really a true celebration of diversity and tolerance. It really gave us a lot of energy!
‘Its high time we have marriage equality and adoption, and I am confident the law will pass if they made such a declaration, I’m very optimistic.’