The anti-gay French religious right, which has close ties to American “family values” groups, most notably the lead anti-gay-marriage group in the US, National Organization for Marriage (NOM), is promising to spill blood if the French government moves ahead with plans to expedite passage of a law legalizing gay marriage in the country.
French President François Hollande, who was sworn in last May, promised as part of his campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. The French parliament is now in the process of finishing legislation doing just that. The key portions of the legislation have passed, and final passage is now considered inevitable.
Rather than debate the bill for another four weeks or more, the majority party has put the bill on an expedited path towards a final vote, which has further enraged the already-violent anti-gay-marriage movement in France (which is also heavily infiltrated by the Catholic church). Opposition leader, and comic, Frigide Barjot, promised on Friday that the family values groups will spill blood if the legislation is expedited:
“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.”
The blood is already spilling. Wilfred de Bruijn and his boyfriend were brutally beaten in Paris a week ago 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.
The support for gay marriage in the parliament, including unexpected support from conservatives (though still not much), has incensed the French “family values” groups, who have teamed up with the conservative opposition – basically, the French Republican party, for lack of a better comparison – to try to use gay-bashing as a means to unite the entire right-wing in France, including violence-prone fascists and white supremacists.
Sadly, the extremism has included a call to use children as human shields, and a hate crime in the center of Paris that anti-gay-marriage activists had the gall to film and post on YouTube.
The problem for the French right is that 63% of French voters support gay marriage. So, they’ve taken a page from the American Tea Party, and more generally the extremist controlling the American Republican party, in trying to mobilize their violent supporters to scare the government into backing down.
This is similar to the way nascent Tea Partyers shut down congressional town hall meetings on health care reform in order to scare Democratic politicians into believing a majority of the country was against the provisions of Obamacare, when it was not.
The Republicans tried a similar move during the election recount in 2000, when they sent GOP Hill staffers, among others, incognito to “storm” the room in which Florida’s election staff were counting the infamous “hanging chads.” Again, the point was to use the threat of the mob to intimidate the Democratic process.
Which probably explains why the government is interested in getting the vote over quickly. Marriage equality supporters have already won the key votes that were needed to pass the legislation – it’s now a fait accompli. But the right in France is desperate to do whatever it can to take down Hollande’s government – not only because of Hollande’s support for gay marriage, but gays always prove a useful foil for conservatives in any language, so if the French opposition, which includes the lead opposition party, the UMP, the “family values” groups and the Catholic church need to inspire a little (or lot of) gay-bashing to help knock the government off of its game, so be it.
Wilfred de Bruijn, the gay man who was brutally beaten in Paris last week, knows very well who to blame for his attack, the family-values right and the Catholic church:
“It was not Frigide Barjot who was hitting my head, or the bishop of Avignon lurking in that street to attack us,” he said. “But they are responsible.”