Europeans march for gay marriage

AFP-JIJI

Tens of thousands of people paraded noisily through several European cities Saturday to celebrate gay pride, calling for same-sex marriage to be legalized.

In Rome, activists held up signs reading: “In France I can now get married. When in Italy?” Italy does not recognize gay marriage or same-sex civil unions, and rights campaigners have blamed the influence of the Catholic Church for hampering legislation.

A similar march took place in Zagreb, a day after Croatia’s parliament received a petition signed by one-fifth of the country’s voters seeking a referendum that could rule out same-sex marriage.

In Warsaw, thousands of marchers also called for a campaign to allow gay marriages and civil unions in conservative Poland, where 95 percent of inhabitants are Catholics.

Austrians turned up in the thousands in Vienna to support the protection of gay rights. In France, up to 15,000 people turned out for the parade in Lyon, while up to 20,000 joined in Strasbourg.