Anti-Gay Marriage Movements in France and Croatia: A Conservative Response to Legal Liberalism

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Antonija PETRICUSIC, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Dorit GEVA, Central European University, Hungary
After being predominantly present in the United States, groups and initiatives that advocate socially conservative and religious values have been on rise both in Europe and in other parts of the world. Those groups often act in response to legislative amendments that threaten traditional family values by legalizing same sex marriage, or by recognizing the right to adoption to homosexual partners, or introduce educational curricula that are deemed contrary to parental value systems.

The paper will present the French conservative initiative “The Protest for Everyone” (La Manif Pour Tous) that organized massive protests in March and May 2013 against legislation that allow same-sex marriage and adoption of children by homosexual partners. It will aalso present the Croatian conservative civic initiative “In the name of the Family” (U ime obitelji) that managed to collect more than 700,000 signatures in May 2013 what served as a ground for a nation-wide referendum in November 2013 which introduced the Constitutional definition of marriage as an exclusive union of a man and a woman. We will argue those conservative movements act on behalf of socially conservative majority with the goal of reducing secular influence over the legislation and government's policies. The paper will establish why and how two conservative movements came into being, and who the main actors behind them are. The data on the Croatian conservative movement repertoire and organization were collected by conducting the semi-structured in-depth interviews, with scholars, and civil society activists both from the liberal and conservative spectrum of the Croatian civil society scene in April 2015. Data on the French Manif Pour Tous likewise draws from ethnographic observation of major movement events, and from in-depth interviews with movement founders.