On March 18, 2014, France legalized same-sex marriage. It became the 9th country in Europe and the 14th country world-wide. Marriages in France must take place in town halls, most of which take around four weeks to process marriage applications. Anyone who has visited Paris or watched a movie will know that Paris is a romantic city with clusters of couple smooching in every available space. Well, imagine the shock, when two lesbians kissing goodbye on a Paris railway station were told their behaviour was forbidden!
The Story: February 16, 2015.
People in love just don’t enjoy being separated. This true for Mirjam van Heugten from the Netherlands. She travelled to Paris to spend time with her girlfriend Claire. You can imagine the sadness and emotion when Mirjam and Claire looked at one another and faced another period of separation. They kissed. It would have been great if their last moments would be remembered in that kiss – but a railway employee interrupted them and told them that their” behaviour would not be tolerated!”
Media Response: People Protest
One of the positive aspects of the media and internet is that bullying behaviour is exposed! More than 40,000 good people backed the couple on line.
Mirjam, 35, went on line: “I was shocked and disgusted. “It was horrible.
“Me and Claire live in different countries, so our time together is special – we only see each other at weekends.
“I felt destroyed when the man said that. I didn’t know what to do.
“We love each other like all the other couples kissing on train platforms – so why should we be any different?”
Mirjam (who lives in Holland – the first European country to legalize same-sex marriages back in 2001 ), approached the railway authorities and was told to fill in a complaint form. You bet – she did!
Incredibly, the Thalys train company courted controversy when it pictured a gay couple in an advert promoting the brand in 2013.
“I am upset that the company did not just come out and apologise,” she said.
“If there is a fault in how they train their staff, or what they tell them is OK, then it needs to be addressed, and they need to put out a full statement saying that they are opposed to this kind of behaviour.”
After becoming concerned that they company would not apologise, Mirjam approached All Out, a pro-equality campaign group.
paula: That is how I found this story. All Out is pro-active and asks good people to click and sign campaigns to make this world a better place. Do think of looking at the site. Thank you.