Thousands of people took to the streets of the French capital Saturday for the fortieth Paris Gay Pride rally to remind French President Emmanuel Macron of his election promise to make medically assisted procreation (MAP) available for all.

Macron tweeted on Saturday: “France is a rainbow, we are rich in our diversities, let us be proud of ourselves! #MarcheDesFiertés # LoveisLove”. During his presidential campaign, he said he was “in favour” of opening MAP, currently reserved for sterile heterosexual couples, to lesbian couples and single women.

This remains a sensitive issue in a country where crowds have also marched against such demands by LGBT groups. In 2013, then President Francois Hollande’s government dropped an amendment to the same-sex marriage bill to allow gay couples to have children using MAP.

The following year, a French court prevented two lesbians from officially adopting babies born to their partners through MAP – even though the process happened in Belgium, where it was already legal.

Later in 2014, the highest French appeals court allowed gay couples to legally adopt children using MAP if the procedure happens abroad. But it remains illegal in France.

France’s National Advisory Committee on Ethics will on Tuesday deliver a long-awaited recommendation on MAP, with a particular focus on lesbian couples.

‘It’s been forty years, and it’s not over!’

Saturday’s march swept across the historic heart of Paris to the Place de la République, where events went on until 10pm.

Mickaël Bucheron, president of the FLAG association – the LGBT group of law enforcement officers, which had included the policeman Xavier Jugelé, killed in a terrorist attack on the Champs-Élysées in April – marched to “tell the population that the police is diverse”.

“It’s been forty years, and it’s not over!” exclaimed the spokeswoman for the organising association, the Inter-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). “We are not here to ask for crumbs, but rights, and that is why we are just a few metres from the National Assembly.”

Draped in rainbow flags, teenagers Agathe, Marwa and Laura said they were there “to move things forward” and hailed the fact that “young people are more open” about their sexual orientation.

Two high school teachers, Jean-Luc and Franck, lost count of how long they have been going to the rally: “Our first time? Twenty years ago, at least.” They also spared a thought for those “in other countries who aren’t allowed to do what they’re allowed to do here”.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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