Paris celebrates gay pride as Hollande promises legalisation of same-sex marriage
Paris’s annual gay pride parade took off with a colourful start on Saturday, as France’s Socialist government promised to legalise same-sex marriage by 2013.
The lively parade went from Montparnasse to Bastille, with blaring music and dancing that promised to take street parties into the night.
Local gay rights groups were in attendance, as well as the tens of thousands lining the streets.
Valerie Perrin, who marched with gay rights organisation APGL, is a parent and a lesbian. She said that she was proud to be at the parade and has hopes that the government will follow through on its promises.
"We trust, because they really promised, and I think the society is ready, so we really trust that they will act now," she said.
Organisers said that attendance was up from last year, which saw an estimated 36,000 people. Perrin said that she thinks numbers will continue to go up if same-sex marriage becomes legal in France.
"The law is not yet voted... [but] I think next year it will be a big, big, big party!"
Minister for Family, Dominique Bertinotti, attended the rally, and told the AFP news agency that anywhere where family issues were involved, he would be present.
“All advances in society benefit the whole of society,” he said. The statement comes one day after he told Le Parisien that in a year, people of the same gender would be able to get married.
On Friday, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault assured that the right to marriage, as well as adoption, would be open to “everyone,” without giving a specific date.