Anti-gay protests have again turned violent in France, where conservatives, teamed up with the Catholic church and the country’s nascent “Christian conservative” movement, have embraced the use of force, and hate crimes, as a means of imposing their minority will on the largely secular French majority in favor of gay marriage.
Shortly after same-sex marriages were finally fully legalized yesterday in France, with weddings expected to commence in June, the “family values” crowd took to the streets of Paris where they immediately attacked the police with bottles and metal bars, and then sent the president of the French Assembly (France’s equivalent of the US House of Representatives) an envelope containing gun powder.
The anti-gay movement in France, which is closely allied with America’s anti-gay-marriage movement, led by the National Organization for Marriage, has made no secret of its threat, and embrace, of violence.
The leader of France’s intolerant minority – gay marriage is favored by the majority of the French – is a comedienne who goes by the pen-name “Frigide Barjot” (a sexual pun on the name of famed French actress Brigitte Bardot). With France already engulfed in right-wing violence and a marked increase in anti-gay hate crimes, in the wake of the gay marriage debate, Barjot recently appeared to threaten even more violence, as as the gay marriage law was put on a fast-track vote:
“Hollande veut du sang, il en aura!”, Barjot told the French press a few weeks ago. ”Tout le monde est furieux. Nous vivons dans une dictature.”
“[French President] Hollande wants blood, and he’s going to get it! Everyone is furious. We live in a dictatorship.”
Sadly, the Catholic bishop of Paris, André Vingt-Trois, France’s top Catholic leader, also made excuses for the violence last week, in a not so subtle dog-whistle to the far right.
And more violence is what Paris most certainly got from the unholy alliance of the Catholic Church, American-supported Family Values advocates, and French conservatives, who have even included white supremacists at their “family values” protests, and who at one point during a previous violent protest gave the fascist salute to police.
Hate crimes have recently seen a marked increase in France, with the recent brutal attack on Wilfred de Bruijn in Paris, an attack on a gay bar in the French town of Lille, and the recent defacing and destruction of property of the LGBT center in Paris, which family-values advocates had the audacity to film and put on Twitter.
At the same time, in the wake of yesterday’s final passage of the marriage equality law, the Twitter hashtags “DeathToGays” and “WeMustKillTheHomosexuals” were trending on the French Internet.
The conservative Christian movement in France isn’t well-liked by the populace at large. France is not a terribly religious country, and the people have serious objections to the church interfering with the state. The conservative Christian anti-gay coalition has embraced violence, in the face of imminent defeat, as a political ploy to terrorize the French government, and the population at large, in to submission. Much in the same way that Tea Partyers disrupted Democratic health care town hall meetings in an effort to scare Democrats into thinking Americans were more opposed to health care reform than they really were.
In essence, the intolerant minority are using violence to create a faux backlash against the government, in the hopes that astro-turf violence scares the French people to the point that a real one then follows.
Family-values leader, and comedienne, Frigide Barjot, appeared yesterday to excuse violence as a political tactic, when she blamed her supporters’ increasing embrace of violence on the French government. “The violence comes from the way in which this [law] was imposed,” Barjot told France’s Info radio.
In fact, the law was passed the same way every law is passed. By the French legislature. Barjot, and her Catholic and family-values cohorts are simply upset that they lost the recent French presidential election. And like America’s Republicans, they’ve formed a coalition, based on gay-bashing, to “retake” their country from the tolerant majority.
Al Jazeera actually has a pretty good story on the issue, below, though I’d quibble with the notion that this debate has “divided” the country. France isn’t divided. The people who lost the last election – the minority conservatives, the Catholic Church, and the family-values crowd – joined forces, with homophobia as their glue, to use the gay marriage debate as an opportunity to attack the majority government by any means necessary.
And if it takes bashing in the heads of a few, or a lot, of gay people for the right to worm their way back into power, the minority conservatives, the Catholic Church, and Christian conservatives are only too happy to oblige.