La Manif Pour Tous:

An Interview with Ludovine de La Rochère

Ludovine de La Rochère is President of La Manif Pour Tous, the French organization which has spearheaded some of the most remarkable and well-attended protests against same-sex “marriage” in the world. Here, she discusses her organization’s history, motivations, and great success.

Tell us a bit about the background and history of La Manif Pour Tous. How and when did the movement begin? What are your primary goals?

We founded the movement in October 2012 when the homosexual “marriage” and adoption bill was to be presented before the French Parliament. Since the very beginning, we have also struggled against “queer theory” and all its consequences, which include not only gay “marriage,” but a new conception of humanity and society. We were ordinary citizens considering that we had to do everything we could to avoid such an absurd law.

What are the political and religious affiliations of your constituents?

La Manif Pour Tous is neither a political nor a religious organization. The movement refuses to align itself with a specific political party: actually, the fact that marriage means a man and a woman is a question of reality. The couple builds the family, and the family is based on the couple.

Because the point of marriage is to create a family and its purpose is to protect each member of the family, adults and children, marriage is not an issue of the right or left. It is not a conservative, socialist, or liberal issue. And any person, from any political or philosophical background, may join La Manif Pour Tous. As a transpartisan movement, it aims to gather a majority of French people within the political spectrum so as to efficiently promote marriage and the “father-mother-child” relationship.

Its neutrality regarding religion also means that any person, what­ever his religious belief, may side with La Manif Pour Tous. It is indeed our contention that promoting and defending marriage and filiation do not require subscription to any teaching or dogma from any church: it is simple common sense that leads us to adhere to such values.

Your protests have drawn the French to Paris by the thousands—they are some of the most remarkable and yet peaceful anti-gay-marriagegather­ings that the world has seen. To what do you attribute the popularity of your movement?

“Family” is one of the most important institutions for all human beings. Thus, the loi Taubira [the law opening marriage to members of the same sex, named after French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira] is a vio­lent threat jeopardizing the fundamental pillar of our society. I think that people were very hurt by the idea of willingly depriving some children of a father or a mother through the legalization of assisted reproductive technology.

This anthropological revolution has been prepared by the diffusion in French society of “queer theory,” which preaches that man and woman are not really different and that sexual identities do not really matter. This theory has begun to spread in French schools.

This revolution has been accompanied by anti-family policies that have caused the impoverishment of French families, a sharp decline in our fertility rate, etc. French President François Hollande and his gov­ernment really dislike family: for them, it is one of the chief causes of inequality and injustice.

These threats have been a watershed in France since the civil unrests and student protests of May 1968: for the first time a massive part of the French people have decided to no longer tolerate those attacks that put children in a horrible predicament.

Because La Manif Pour Tous has been denouncing those measures and has been promoting a deep shift in attitude toward family, it has suc­ceeded in gathering hundreds of thousands of people across the country for four years. The last protest in October 2016, which attracted 200,000 people to Paris, proved that there is a decisive and lasting trend in favor of family.

In a 2014 article on La Manif Pour Tous, Alexander Stille wrote in The New Yorker, “Political street demonstrations are so much a part of French life that they have their own nickname, la manif, short for manifestation, or protest. They have a long history of blocking or undoing legislation, top­pling governments, and reshaping the country—sometimes quite literally.” Your name means, in English, “the protest for everyone.” Can you say more about the tradition of street demonstrations in France? And also about your name?

Street demonstrations perhaps happen more often in France than in other countries. Usually they are organized by labor unions which are opposed to any reform of work conditions.

In the case of La Manif Pour Tous demonstrations, the goal is to defend common good, society, and civilization. These are strong motiva­tions, but cannot be compared to other protests!

Besides, the meaning of our name is twofold. It was first created in reaction to the Bill named “le marriage pour tous,” namely “marriage for all,” which aimed to legalize same-sex “marriage” and adoption. In response to what was in fact a communitarian law that would have an impact on all children, a movement which was really “for all” was launched. This is the second meaning of our name: we do not discrimi­nate against people, whatever their background. We are a movement for all French people who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman who desire to build a family.

Before the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in France, there was a law allowing both heterosexual and homosexual couples to enter into a civil union. Why has La Manif Pour Tous not protested such legal protections for gay unions? How are such unions different from marriage?

The PACS [“pacte civil de solidarité”] was enacted in 1999: it is the French equivalent of civil partnerships. For the first time in French law there was recognition of same-sex relationships as legal couples who could claim fiscal rights in particular. But PACS did not, and still does not, confer adoption rights on the partners. It is a contract that can be entered into by both opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples. It should be noted that more than 95% of PACS have been contracted between a man and a woman.

Many people were opposed to the PACS and some organizations did set up protests that were rather important. These were not organized by La Manif Pour Tous because we did not exist in 1999!

Your website speaks of the “rights of the child,” stating that “‘Marriage for All’ will inevitably lead to scientific procreation for all.” What do you mean by that?

The law legalizing both same-sex “marriage” and same-sex adoptions will inevitably lead to the approval of “assisted reproduction for all” because marriage is made to found a family, but two men or two women cannot have a child together!

Adoption cannot resolve this problem because there are currently more than 18,000 opposite-sex couples who are waiting to adopt a child. It is thus mere arithmetic: there are not enough children “available” to be adopted to fulfill the desires of same-sex couples.

Thus, when LGBT associations pretend that they want adoption and no more, it simply cannot be true. And, of course, I underline that adop­tion for two men or two women is a scandal because a child needs both a mother and a father: two men cannot be a mother, nor can two women be a father, even if they are marvellous.

This law has really enshrined in French law broadly the “right to a child.” Even if our opponents have been asserting that marriage is just the business of the couple, everybody knows, in fact, that marriage usually leads to children. So logically, same-sex couples say now that they have as much a right to have a child as anybody else and that it is our fault if they do not, because the means exist. Now they want these means to be legalized. This is the only way for them to have access to parenthood.

As a result, and logically, wide, public, and massive campaigns began just after the vote of loi Taubira to authorize both ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) for lesbian couples and surrogacy on the ground of equality. To date, La Manif Pour Tous has succeeded in pre­venting the implementation of those bills.

Also on your website, you claim to be fighting the “Marriage for All” leg­islation “Because we have the historic responsibility of preserving our civil state, our society, and our humanity . . . ” Why and in what ways do you believe that this legislation will undermine the civil state and humanity of France? Why is the family consisting of a married mother and father that crucial?

Family is the first cell of society; it is the essential link between the person and the whole community. This cell is the best at welcoming and bring­ing up a child. It is also the first place of solidarity, dignity, etc.

For this reason, family is essential for all human beings and for the whole society and its future. The first concern is the family’s most vulner­able member: the child. The very purpose of civilization is to protect the weaker, not to allow harm to come to him, for example by ordering him through a surrogate mother or depriving him of a father or a mother.

I insist that family entails sexual otherness. To deny this, to act as if a male-female couple is the same as two men or two women in found­ing a family, is to completely deny human reality. It is also wrong from a biological or psychological perspective.

I would even link such a denial to transhumanism: queer theory is a part of the human transformation wanted by some people.

What other family policy concerns/issues/agendas do you have?

Since the beginning of the first term of François Hollande as French President, his government has been adopting tragic measures.

After the law against marriage in May 2013, the Hollande govern­ment has continued pushing forward new bills against families. For instance, there are currently new threats to the freedom of educational choice, an astonishing permissiveness regarding the offence of surrogacy, the pledge for the vote of “ART without a father,” the absurd promotion of “multiple parenthood” and of “queer theory,” as well as a tattered family policy. All of those issues were among the many that led us to take to the streets to protest on October 16.

Above all, the 2017 presidential and general elections are our next targets. We will raise awareness of family issues among the general public: the repeal of the 2013 Marriage Act together with the complete withdrawal of queer theory from school curricula are among the many measures we hope the candidates will pledge.

We have also been very vigilant regarding the EU agenda. For example, the annual report on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union that was adopted last December shows a latent trend toward the promotion of the LGBT agenda within the EU. Through our European organization, “Europe For Family,” we have been working closely on family issues but also on transhumanism: the recent parlia­mentary report by Mady Delvaux is of much interest as it purports to give a legal status to robots.

The Council of Europe has also attracted our attention as well as the Hague Conference, notably because of their work on surrogacy. Those attempts to frame it as a morally sound and legitimate practice are unacceptable.

Where do you see your movement in five years? Or ten? What do you hope to have accomplished?

This is very hard to answer. I assume we will continue, even in five or ten years, to promote the culture of respect of male and female sexual identi­ties, of family, of human ecology. The matter is so huge that it will not be resolved within a few years! But there is also the political aspect: the nature of actions we will realize depends on the policy of the next presi­dent, government, and parliament. We always have to adapt our strategy to the context.