“Death to gays” hashtag trending in France following passage of gay marriage law today

France has seen a marked uptick in anti-gay rhetoric and violence in the lead-up to today’s final vote on a new law permitting gay couples to marry in the country.  The law passed only a few hours ago – I know we reported on it passing the other day, and that was the most crucial vote in question, the vote today was the final-final in a very long legislative process.  Gay marriages will soon begin in France.

In the run-up to the vote today, two troubling hashtags have been trending on Twitter:

#MortAuxGay (death to gays)
#ilfauttuerleshomosexuels (we must kill all gays)

(UPDATE: France’s rightwing coalition of conservatives, the religious right, and the Catholic church went violent against yesterday, following final passage of the marriage law, attacking police with bottles and metal rods, and sending a letter with explosives to the president of the French Assembly (their version of the US House of Representatives).)

I just did a search on trending hashtags in France, and #MortAuxGay is still trending, though possibly because much of the French Internet is up in arms of the hate being directed against France’s gay community by religious extremists in that country, in tandem with the right-wing opposition (France’s version of the Republican party, for lack of a better comparison).

hashtag-france-mortauxgay

Sadly, France is finding itself confronting two equally disturbing trends.

First, an alliance between France’s religious right (mostly led by the Catholics) that’s in cahoots with the American religious right.

And second, an increased willingness by French conservatives to use violence to try to scare the current progressive government to back down, in the same way that American conservatives disrupted health care reform town meetings in order to scare Democrats, and effectively they did.  The French right, including the top Catholic official in the country, seemed to give a nod of approval to anti-gay violence in that country.

protester-kicks-police

French protester kicks police during “family values” protest against gay marriage last month.

Opposition leader, and comic, Frigide Barjot, promised a little over a week ago that the family values groups would spill blood if passage of the gay marriage law was expedited, as expected:

“Hollande veut du sang, il en aura ! Tout le monde est furieux. Nous vivons dans une dictature.”

“Hollande wants blood, and he’s going to get it.  Everyone is furious. We live in a dictatorship.”

And the blood is already spilling.  Wilfred de Bruijn and his boyfriend were brutally beaten in Paris recently go by several men shouting homophobic epithets, he say.  The photos of his injuries, that he posted on Facebook, caused such a stir the French Interior Minister called Bruijn to express his personal shock.

wilfred-de-Brujin

Wilfred de Bruijn

And while Republicans in the US are more loathe to resort to violence than their French counterparts, the same strategy of acting crazy in order to scare the people in power, and scare the electorate into thinking the people in power are doing a bad job, is being employed by the right-wing opposition in the US and the right-wing opposition in France.  It’s the tactics that differ, albeit slightly.  It should be noted that gay marriage is rather popular in France, with 66% of French voters supporting the new law.  So, when you don’t have the people on your side, all that’s left for you to do is go crazy and make it look like the people are on your side.

A third disturbing trend that France seems to have also borrowed from the American right is the tendency to use gay-bashing, be it legislative or the real thing, as a means of unifying the party and rallying the troops.  This is slightly different than gay-bashing to scare the government.  In this case, just as the American Republican did decades ago, the French right-wing is embracing a tolerance of intolerance, and a partnership with homophobes, in order to increase their electoral base, but just as importantly, provide bread and circus to their base.

Not surprisingly, France has seen an upswing in violent anti-gay hate crimes.

It’s widely known in France that the recent anti-gay protests in Paris, in which police were attacked by “family values” protesters doing fascist salutes, and children were used as human shields against tear gas, were not simply a response to the gay marriage legislation.  Rather, the right saw the gay marriage debate as an opportunity to rally the entire rightwing in France – homophobes, white supremacists, and all – against the current left-wing administration of President Hollande.

Anti-gay demonstrators in Paris give the fascist salute while confronting police during an anti-gay-marriage protest.

Anti-gay demonstrators in Paris give the fascist salute while confronting police during an anti-gay-marriage protest.

This was much in the same way the Republican party in the US grabbed on to any issue they could in order to bash President Obama immediately after his election – from the stimulus to health care reform.  As GOP minority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said early on, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

And that’s what troubles with me, among other things, with what’s going on in France right now. I smell a Republican rat. Too much of what’s going on seems to be parroting what’s happening, and what’s happened, in the US – whether recently, or over the past forty years in the case of the the unholy matrimony between the GOP and the religious right.

French flag upside down, via Shutterstock

French flag upside down, via Shutterstock

If France wants to learn from America, it should learn from America’s mistakes. The Republican party knows it has a problem with a growing majority of the electorate, including women, gays, Latinos, African-Americans, and youth (among others). And a big part of the blame goes to the GOP tethering itself to social conservatives (that’s nice the word we use for religious right bigots). When you constantly resort to a strategy of demonization in order to win elections, at some point all the people you’ve demonize fight back. And when you’ve ticked off enough people, they’ll send your hateful ass out of office for good.

It’s a lesson French conservatives should take to heart.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • FuckBigots

    Religion is as religion does, who cares which one it was, they’re all thugs.

  • FuckBigots

    Death to bigots, make the world a better place, shoot a Phelps Phag in his face. Hit ;em where it hurts, carve “pwnd by a fag” in his forehead and drop him off at the closest church.

  • FuckBigots

    You also don’t see atheists going around threatening to shoot Christians in the face like they go around threatening to shoot abortion doctors. Maybe we oughta start. Take a page out of Pastor Charles L. Worely’s book and gather up all the Phelps Phags and Klanfags and homophobic blacks and send them off to their own island. Moose-limb Jihadis too. Let them have as many fights amongst themselves as they want and maybe they’ll just keep killin’ each other until they’re all dead. Srsly though, I can’t believe this is the same country that inspired my favorite bands like Malice Mizer and Moi dix Mois and Gackt. But now if they went over there, they’d be killed for being non-white and girly lookin’

  • FuckBigots

    I know, right? All that ‘Murikuh patriot talk about the “cheese eatin’ surrender monkies” when really they’re both as much alike as WBC and the KKK. Why fight? Just join forces, get the Muslims in on it too and you guys can have a big ole hate monger “Legion of Doom” with Fred Phelps as Lex Luthor, or maybe Grodd (the ape).

  • FuckBigots

    Gotta get them before they git-chew, nigguh.

  • FuckBigots

    The only cure for bigotry is bullets. Just sayin’. One of these days we’ll see just how much WBC believes “God sends shooters” when one fills their family full of lead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ted.cooper.54 Ted Cooper

    Just the beginning of anti-gay demonstrations provoked by sexual extremisst harassing the public.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eve.condon Eve Wartenberg Condon

    I meant in terms of gay rights. When being gay was an offense punishable by incarceration in the UK, France and Italy were much more accepting.

  • stainpouch

    His mission was a great success. He lived in a castle and managed to avoid military service in the U S–even though he advocated for the war everywhere he went. He now has many sons–and all of them are war mongers just like daddy. How many of them have served? Guess? Anyone? The success continues.

  • stainpouch

    Sorry. I wish this were true. It isn’t. Unless the “relatively’ refers to the Third Reich. There is an exodus going on right now. Thousands of Jews are leaving France because they fear Nazi violence. Sound familiar?

  • stainpouch

    Let’s just call them what they are–Nazis.

  • stainpouch

    France is in deep trouble. They’re rife with Nazis–they seem to be everywhere. Someone may have to rid them of fascism, once again. How many times must fascism be defeated? There was a time when many of my family members were ordered to kill fascists by the U S government. We did a great job and killed them by the score. We’re ready again. Just say the word–this time it will be for keeps.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    These violent thugs are domestic terrorists and should be taken down.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ‘guest’ again

  • Bonny Jueden

    These fascist pigs really need to be dealt with. Imagine being a Catholic and having your beliefs demonstrated in such a hateful and un Christian like way. Fuck all of you!

  • [email protected]

    I guest they have book store there where men have sex with other men it a gay thing (dirtandmoredirt com)

  • Mei Shuzune

    So much for Paris being called ‘The City of Love.’

  • Bente Hoogeveen

    Horrible! How can people be so careless about this?! As if gays are monsters! Jesus fucking Christ!

  • Joginder

    fucking france

  • hfgckjl

    at least ariana grande’s trending ._.

  • http://thebrainpolice.blogspot.com microdot

    The anti gay movement here is not a Muslim thing. This is predominately a political movement that has brought together the ultra national conservatives, who are violently anti muslim and immigration with the conservative catholic movement which is sort of refuge for royalists, yes there is still a royalist movement here and conservative fascists who still long for the days of Petain. The ex majority UMP Party, that was the party of Nicolas Sarkozy has been co opted, as the republican in America by right wing conservatives. They have allied themselves with the ultra right and the catholics to use this as hyped up issue in their attempt to use American Tea Party tactics to destroy the Hollande government. There really is no muslim involvement in this movement. They have enough problems with the traditional prejudice against muslims here.

  • EndlessRepetition

    You hope in vain if you think that the politics of demonizing “the other”
    will ever get bigots or their facilitators kicked out of office “for good”.
    Bigotry is universal. It’s the human default. We are taught tolerance
    and flexibility for the sake of social cohesion during times of stability
    and relative peace. Add any real stress, 9/11 for example, and you will
    see our people making a mad dash back to those same thugs and
    bigoted leaders to protect them.

    It would be wonderful to see a world free from bigotry, belligerence,
    brutality, and sadism but such a world could not include us. Those traits

    define the natural man and would very quickly describe us were a real
    threat suddenly disrupt our cushy, controlled, and relatively safe lives.
    Tolerance, flexibility, and open-mindedness are characteristics of a
    successful society because only a prosperous and safe society can
    afford them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eve.condon Eve Wartenberg Condon

    I too am surprised and disappointed, especially since historically France has been relatively tolerant. It has to be some behind-the-scenes faction stirring people up.

  • FunMe

    The French guys protesting
    without shirts are doing it because they want to get laid. With other guys. ;-)

  • FunMe

    What’s the French translation of “teabbagers”?

    That’s what they are with “Nazi in front of their names.

  • pappyvet

    Bigotry and paranoid fantasies have become a world wide phenomenon

  • Naja pallida

    Let’s see… easy access to cheap health care – even if you’re not a citizen, paid vacations, guaranteed maternity leave, publicly financed child care, and now passed same-sex marriage, which is going to become law… sure, there are wing-nuts in the loud minority everywhere, but at least theirs are not actively holding their Congress hostage.

  • Ninong

    About 8% of baptized Catholics in France attend Mass weekly. It’s complicated because as a culturally Catholic country families still have a tendency to go to church for baptisms, weddings and funerals but that’s about it. And the Catholic Church likes to count everybody who was ever baptized as being Catholic.

    That number of 8% is supposed to be the actual number, not the self-reported number of 12% seen in some polls. When you ask people if they go to church once a week, some of them will actually lie. One of those save surveys said that 51% of people who were baptized Catholic in France no longer believe in God at all, which would make them no longer Catholics but I don’t think that’s how they keep score.

    It’s not much better in Italy, another nominally Catholic country. Weekly attendance at Mass there is somewhere between 12-15% depending on which polls you choose. In the US, actual attendance at weekly services (all religious denominations) is estimated to be around 24% nationally. That’s an average of the 12-15% figures for the West Coast and the Northeast and the 40-something percent number for the Bible Belt of the South.

    You can’t ask people if they go to church once a week because so many of them will lie about it. You have to stake out the local churches and do an actual physical head count and then compare that with the claimed census for that parish.

  • dula

    It’s odd that so many better informed, better educated French have fallen for the bullshit of typical wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing “Christians.”

  • Stev84

    French women go to Belgium. It’s gotten to the point where the majority of their clients are French. There is a TGV line to Brussels and children who are conceived that way are known as “Thalys babies”

    http://www.expatica.com/be/news/local_news/french-inundating-belgian-fertility-clinics-24721.html
    http://www.xpats.com/french-lesbians-take-%E2%80%98baby-thalys%E2%80%99-belgium

  • UncleBucky

    Well, it could be astroturfing, not real people, but lots of cardboard cutout cat-licks there…?

  • UncleBucky

    Astrobagguers… I see! ;o)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I don’t know about no better. Their parliament did just pass and their president promise to sign same-sex marriage into law.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    According to this report, his sum total of converts while in France was…. two.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/14/mitt-romney-s-life-as-a-missionary-nearly-killed-in-a-car-accident.html

  • GlennF

    I feel the opposite. I find it extremely disturbing that the irrational,
    right-wing nutjobs in the U.S. are able to so easily export their
    right-wing craziness to traditionally progressive western countries,
    like France.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Europe isn’t that big a place — it’s likely no more than short train ride to an IVF clinic in some more progressive locale. You’re right though, eventually they’ll come ’round.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WilliamRWWelch Will Welch

    Ah OK. I see how the rightside up one looks more natural. Sorry about the totally tangential comment. I agree that we shouldn’t fly their flag upside down–the government did a GOOD job today.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Interesting!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    What? No inroads were made by Mitty during his Mormon mission days?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well done M.Thanks for filling in some detail.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    :-O I don’t get it. What’s wrong with Shutterstock? We use it all the time on adgitadiaries.

  • http://twitter.com/jmi2000 mike ireland/

    un nouveau terreur! are the guillotines next? I keep laughing with each comment about France being a ‘catholic’ country. hardly any of them go to mass!

  • http://www.facebook.com/WilliamRWWelch Will Welch

    This is terrifying to me. The right successfully used homophobic tactics to drive their politics in the United States for years and it is only now catching up to them. How long will French people be subjected to this violent social backlash?

  • ferntruth

    So it turns out that France really is no better that the US – that will come as a surprise to some here.

  • Ninong

    Click on the word Shutterstock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WilliamRWWelch Will Welch

    I see the caption, but how can you even tell that it’s upside down? Because slants upward away from the pole??

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Isn’t it funny how Gay Pride parades never turn into violent anti-heterosexist riots?

    Or how, with a single noted exception involving one mentally disturbed man, we LGBTs never call for the death or imprisonment of others because we’re being denied equal rights under the law? Or roaming gangs of gays beating up people for the crime of appearing to be “too straight”? Or LGBTs sending death threats to politicians for refusing to stand up for us?

  • http://twitter.com/tpaape Terrance Paape

    This is just getting nuts. The people fueling these terrible acts of violence need to be brought down hard , including Brian Brown and NOM.

  • Guest

    This is just getting nuts

  • Stev84

    Almost all of the anti-gay organizations there are Catholic

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Once again I note in the photo showing the anti-gay bigots doing their fascist salute, the hand closest to the camera appears to be wearing a latex surgical glove.

    A person doesn’t attend a protest demonstration wearing such gloves if the plan isn’t for it to turn violent at some point. Or at minimum having the prior intent to provoke a police response.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    The adoption thing was always a problem. It always struck me as odd that they separate the two, but they do, and did – they voted on adoption as a separate part of the same law, almost like different amendments. Also, gay married couples will still not be eligible for in vitro, whereas straight couples are. It’s a bit odd, but it will change eventually.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Great analysis.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Add it to the list.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I asked that question a few weeks ago, and someone who appeared to have knowledge on the subject said that the anti-gay movement in France is riddled with interconnected front groups, most of them only recently created.

    The implication being that like our Tea Baggers, they’re being funded and backed by extreme far-right political forces trying to turn marriage equality rights into a rabble-rousing wedge issue to push the progressives out of power.

  • emjayay

    Thanks. Obviously you are there and know what you are talking about. Any response to my comment below?

  • Ninong

    Why is the picture of the French flag upside down?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Brava!

  • http://thebrainpolice.blogspot.com microdot

    There’s a lot of ugly stuff going on here and the French conservatives have learned a lot from the Americans in the use of media. The Socialists made a lot of mistakes in their push to get this legislation through…the stupidest move was to give into the conservatives over the right of a mayor to deny marrying a gay couple. That was the dent in the armor so to speak.
    Christine Taubira on the other hand is a remarkable woman. She made one of the most eloquent moving speeches in the recent history of French politics today after law was approved.
    The forces that have joined in the ugly union to protest gay marriage are the extreme right. That is the Front National and their even more extreme branch, The GUD party faction. The UMP is in total disarray these days and this is the issue that they are using to reassert themselves…France, though it is culturally Catholic, is not in any sense a Catholic country. The show of the extreme orthodox Catholic opposition has been orchestrated by people coming from all over France to create the semblance of a majority. The last demonstration. A lot of the families that brought children to the last demonstrations are going to shy away. It is a media phenomena. Frigide Barjot is a failed comedian and actress but she seems to be banking her last shot on being a successful homophobe. Gay Marriage is the law of the land. It will stand the attempts of the UMP to play tea party games. The rest of France will accept it, like they accepted the abolition of the death penalty and legalized abortion. This is the last gasp of the religious right. We won. It will stand and France will move on. The victims of homophobic violence are getting a chance to speak in the media and put a human face on the violence. One of my friends is the mayor of a small village near here. He publicly came out a few years before he was elected. He has been mayor for 8 years now. The mayor of Paris is openly gay. France is ready for this.

  • emjayay

    I suppose it’s just not fashionable, but there is no mention here of Muslim input into the issue in France. I know it’s not just Muslims, but when I hear “Death to whatever” (usually America or Israel I guess or infidels in general), I associate that kind of stuff with hundreds of quotes over the years from Middle Eastern Muslim types. And I understand that France has a substantial Muslim/North African minority, and that they are a significant part of the anti-gay marriage side and history of anti-gay opinion if not anti-gay violence in France and the rest of Europe.

    I’m no expert on this, but I think it merits discussion from those that are.

  • Pat

    John, the poll you cite with 66% support is actually old. Unfortunately, since then, other polls have shown a much tighter result. While the concept of marriage is still favored by a (slim) majority, the latest poll actually shows a majority against adoption. Because, as they say day after day after day “il y a les droits des enfants, et non le droit à l’enfant!” (there are children’s rights, not the right to have children)…
    Misinformation seems to have been working pretty well.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL okay that’s funny, and understandable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.freemain Mike Freemain

    And the opponents of gay marriage say they are doing this for God and the children. WTF, crappiest examples for children EVER and I’m sure God is very unhappy with his “fan group” Gay marriage is LOVE and LOVE always wins. Not hate.

  • Naja pallida

    I’m interested to know just how much they are influenced by our evangelicals, who seem to enjoy putting their hands in other countrys’ business. Not to say they aren’t perfectly capable of cultivating their own brand of violent wing-nuttery, it is just among one of our chief exports. See, Uganda.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    I suppose in some perverse way, it’s a relief to know that other countries have irrational, homicidal a**holes, too.

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