France's Prime Minister Francois Hollande's Socialist government is expected to introduce its gay marriage bill to the French cabinet on November 7. The government has pushed back the measure's introduction as it faced increasingly loud protests from religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI who called on Catholics in France to “defend marriage.” Passage would make France the twelfth nation to legalize marriage equality.
Opponents staged a nationwide rally on Tuesday in 75 cities to oppose the bill which would allow gay marriage and adoption.
Julia, 17, and Auriane, 19, say they came across the group and wanted to show their disagreement. Then they had an idea: "Hey, what if we stood in the middle of them and kissed.
The picture, which was taken by AFP photographer Gérard Julien, went viral on social media, and has become a somewhat symbolic image of the movement in favor of marriage equality.
Interviewed by French gay magazine Têtu the two young women explained they are both straight, but wanted to draw attention to the issue with a pure and simple gesture of solidarity.
"I don't think you need to be gay to support them. It's a gesture of solidarity, plain and simple," Julia and Auriane told the magazine.
"I'm in favour of what these protesters are against. But there were so few to stand against them... There was no point in talking to them, they were going to stick to their guns. And there was no point yelling at them or insulting them it would have just galvanised them further.”
Julia Pistolesi (in the picture), described the moment on Twitter as “full of emotion,” and thanked those who had shared the image, adding that “homophobes in Marseille can p*** off!”
"The Kiss" (23/10/2012) in Marseille, France: Two young women kissed in front of anti same sex marriage/adoption protesters.