The yellow vest movement is giving France’s social conservatives a new platform

 

Although France legalized abortion in 1975 and gay marriage in 2013, a subset of mostly Catholic social conservatives has long challenged these rights, and regularly mobilized over the years in favor of a more “traditional” view of marriage, gender, and parenthood. Some activists say both movements—social conservative and yellow vest—are fighting to place human dignity at the center of French politics. As a group calling itself the Catholic Yellow Vests explained:

“For nine weeks, the Yellow Vests have tirelessly denounced the…government’s scorn for French people. But the most fundamental contempt, the first cardinal contempt on which all other injustices lie, is the contempt of human life. How do you expect a society that does not respect human life when it is in its beginning to respect human life that works, travels, votes, pays, learns, cares, educates?”

Social conservatives also claim that they, like the yellow vests, have been left out of the democratic process. That’s because Macron’s government has repeatedly stated that it will not discuss abortion and same-sex marriage rights as part of the grand national debate it launched earlier this month.

“The crisis of the yellow vests is a crisis in democracy,” Fabien Bouglé, an anti-gay-marriage activist, told LCI (link in French). “And we were the first to experience it.”

Although France legalized abortion in 1975 and gay marriage in 2013, a subset of mostly Catholic social conservatives has long challenged these rights, and regularly mobilized over the years in favor of a more “traditional” view of marriage, gender, and parenthood. Some activists say both movements—social conservative and yellow vest—are fighting to place human dignity at the center of French politics. As a group calling itself the Catholic Yellow Vests explained:

“For nine weeks, the Yellow Vests have tirelessly denounced the…government’s scorn for French people. But the most fundamental contempt, the first cardinal contempt on which all other injustices lie, is the contempt of human life. How do you expect a society that does not respect human life when it is in its beginning to respect human life that works, travels, votes, pays, learns, cares, educates?”

Social conservatives also claim that they, like the yellow vests, have been left out of the democratic process. That’s because Macron’s government has repeatedly stated that it will not discuss abortion and same-sex marriage rights as part of the grand national debate it launched earlier this month.

“The crisis of the yellow vests is a crisis in democracy,” Fabien Bouglé, an anti-gay-marriage activist, told LCI (link in French). “And we were the first to experience it.”

Although France legalized abortion in 1975 and gay marriage in 2013, a subset of mostly Catholic social conservatives has long challenged these rights, and regularly mobilized over the years in favor of a more “traditional” view of marriage, gender, and parenthood. Some activists say both movements—social conservative and yellow vest—are fighting to place human dignity at the center of French politics. As a group calling itself the Catholic Yellow Vests explained:

“For nine weeks, the Yellow Vests have tirelessly denounced the…government’s scorn for French people. But the most fundamental contempt, the first cardinal contempt on which all other injustices lie, is the contempt of human life. How do you expect a society that does not respect human life when it is in its beginning to respect human life that works, travels, votes, pays, learns, cares, educates?”

Social conservatives also claim that they, like the yellow vests, have been left out of the democratic process. That’s because Macron’s government has repeatedly stated that it will not discuss abortion and same-sex marriage rights as part of the grand national debate it launched earlier this month.

“The crisis of the yellow vests is a crisis in democracy,” Fabien Bouglé, an anti-gay-marriage activist, told LCI (link in French). “And we were the first to experience it.”

Thibault is the perfect example of this phenomenon. The young protester was interviewed at the March for Life wearing a yellow vest that bore the symbol of a far-right Catholic group. He explained that “between the yellow vests and this March for Life, there is a constancy, which is the fight against commodification, against finance, against an imposed materialistic life, and a spiritual denigration.” This, he went on to say, “explains why so many people who did the yellow vest protests yesterday came back to Paris today…to go to the March for Life.”

Critics warn that social conservatives’ views are racist, homophobic, and sexist. The vision of a more “traditional” society centered around the nuclear, heterosexual family is also at odds with the views of most French people (links in French). But that doesn’t mean France’s new social conservatives should be deemed irrelevant.

For one, their next big fight is coming. The French government is preparing to update an existing bioethics law (link in French) in order to offer reproductive technology to lesbian couples and single women, and allow egg-freezing for fertility purposes. Social conservatives have already seized the unique political moment created by the yellow vests to lobby against those changes.

 

By : Anabelle Timsit
Date : January 22, 2019
Source : Quartz
https://qz.com/1529384/the-yellow-vest-movement-is-giving-frances-social-conservatives-a-new-platform/

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