WASHINGTON — A rally in support of the marriage equality bill being advanced by French President François Hollande is planned for Sunday in Paris to counter recent public efforts to highlight opposition to the measure.
Despite the opposition, French Justice Minister Christine Taubira said Jan. 13 that the bill will be moving forward despite what France 24 characterized as "a massive rally calling for the bill to be scrapped or put to a national referendum."
As the U.S. Supreme Court considers two cases relevant to same-sex couples' marriage rights and as several state legislatures consider marriage equality bills, a figure who has been integral to several marriage equality efforts in the United States is overseas this weekend, joining French activists for the rally.
Brian Ellner — who coordinated the Human Rights Campaign's marriage equality efforts in New York in 2011 and was one of the organizers behind thefour.com social media effort in 2012 — arrived in Paris late this week for the weekend events in support of Hollande's bill.
A Sunday brunch, along with an evening public event, are planned. Among those expected to attend are Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, who is gay, and France's First Lady, Valerie Trierweiler, who said in December she would be a witness at the wedding of two gay friends should the effort become law.
Of the effort, Ellner told BuzzFeed, "When marriage passes in France it will have a significant impact across Europe. Just as our New York win unleashed momentum across the United States, France is a cultural capital of Europe and historically has led on issues important to civil society."
Ellner is attending as a guest of All Out, which bills itself as "building a truly global community able to respond to moments of crisis and opportunity, to advance the lives and freedoms of LGBT people — everywhere."
Ellner also noted that he's not the only American showing interest in the French marriage debate. The National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown earlier had attended rallies opposing Hollande's planned legislation.
Regarding impact that could come from passage of the bill back in the U.S., Ellner noted, "A marriage win in France will undoubtedly be noticed by the Supreme Court as it hears two critical marriage cases in March."
The All Out Call for Support
Chris Geidner is a Supreme Court correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Chris Geidner at email@example.com.
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