This chapter unpacks the notion of “oppositional success” using the case of La Manif pour Tous (LMPT), the movement that opposed same-sex marriage in France in 2012–2013. This movement can indeed be regarded as successful. Although same-sex marriage was adopted, LMPT managed to organize among the biggest demonstrations in the last 30 years. It has significantly shaped public debates and altered the content of the law, becoming a crucial political and social actor in contemporary France.
Contesting the idea of French exceptionalism, this chapter discusses the factors explaining this expected success and argues that the latter can neither exclusively be explained by any alleged cultural and historical specificities nor by its important resources and successfully resonating frames. Rather, this chapter shows that this oppositional success is best understood as the consequence of a unique arrangement of contextual opportunities that allowed LMPT to grow and build support beyond its traditional circles. It also demonstrates the validity of social movement theory to address recent cases of opposition to gender and sexuality equality in Europe.