07/15/2013 11:18 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Rainbow Eiffel Tower: Did French Monument Go Multi-Colored On Bastille Day For Gay Marriage?

To the chagrin of "Manif Pour Tous" protesters, even the Eiffel Tower has appeared to show its support for gay marriage in France.

At about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, during the Bastille Day fireworks, the iconic monument radiated the colors of the rainbow in a dazzling light show that was staged to illustrate France's national motto, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," Le Huffington Post reports. But was this rainbow Eiffel Tower a subtle nod to gay pride or to something else entirely?

In a video of the July 14 light show, the Eiffel Tower flashes a rainbow of colors as fireworks in the background light up the night sky. The colors appear to be arranged in the pattern of a rainbow with pink, blue, green, yellow, orange and red lights adorning the stem of the tower.

While many on social media pointed out the colorful similarities to the widely accepted symbol of gay pride, Paris' Mayor Bertrand Delanoë told French LGBT website Yagg that the Eiffel Tower's rainbow light show was actually a tribute to former South African president Nelson Mandela. (South Africa is often called the "rainbow nation" -- a term first used by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe the country's multiculturalism.)

Despite the confirmation, many still saw the rainbow as a subtle nod to France's recent legalization of gay marriage.

As France 24 notes, music accompanied the rainbow light show, along with a message that carried certain undertones.

"All living beings, man, woman and child, walk in the same vein: equality," the voice rang out through speakers at the base of the monument.

“Every human being is a shade of this rainbow palette,” another voice-over said. “For every human, the same opportunities.”

Though some praised the Eiffel Tower's possible LGBT message, others -- primarily members of the "Manif Pour Tous" movement that opposes marriage equality -- criticized the apparent salute. Luc Chatel, the deputy vice president of France's right-leaning Union for Popular Movement party, went so far as to call the display a provocation from Paris' mayor.

Following the harsh critiques on Twitter and in the media, fireworks designer Jean-Éric Ougier also spoke out Monday to address the apparent gay marriage message.

"If Mr. Chatel saw a reference to gay marriage, then good for him, it just means that he is obsessed," Ougier told Europe 1's Le Lab.



Paris Has Pride