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Hasty, last-ditch gay marriage protest held in Paris

Opponents of France's same-sex union and adoption law, expected to pass next week, marched in Paris on Sunday, arguing the government should hold a referendum on such a fundamental issue.

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Demonstrators shout as they march during a rally to protest against French President Francois Hollande's social reform on gay marriage and adoption in Paris, Friday. On Sunday protesters held another rally in Paris.

Michel Euler/AP

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Thousands of gay marriage opponents waving pink and blue flags marched through Paris on Sunday in a last-ditch protest before a law allowing same-sex union and adoption is passed next week.

Chanting "We don't want your law, Hollande!", some 50,000 protesters massed behind a banner reading: "All born of a Mum and a Dad" and said it was undemocratic to bring about such a fundamental social change without holding a referendum.

Hastily organized after the law's passage was sped up to circumvent a big rally set for late April, Sunday's march capped months of protests by a dogged opposition movement that has sullied President Francois Hollande's flagship social reform.

"We warned the president back in November that we would not give up and that we would do everything to stop this law being passed, or to get it repealed if it is adopted," one of the protest organisers, Alberic Dumont, told Reuters.

Attended largely by families with children and old people, it was much more peaceful than a series of agitated demonstrations outside parliament this month that saw hard-right youths pelt police with stones and bottles and damage cars.

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