French religious right to disrupt Tour de France to protest gay marriage

If they had a Darwin Award for politics, the anti-gay-marriage French religious right would take the gold medal.  First, one of their supporters commits suicide on the altar of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.  Next they disrupt the finals of the French Open.  And now they plan to thoroughly turn the French public against them by disrupting the famed Tour de France bicycle race.

Call them France’s “cultural terrorists.”

The plan to disrupt the Tour de France has its own Facebook page.

The plan to disrupt the Tour de France has its own Facebook page.

You can also call them “dumber than a brick.”

France's first gay marriage kiss.

France’s first gay marriage kiss.

The anti-gays in France are a coalition put together by the Catholic church and France’s UMP opposition party (basically, the French version of the Republican party that thought it was a bright idea to hitch its wagon to anti-gay bigotry, the same failed trick the American GOP tried these past 30+ years).  The coalition has close ties to the American religious right, particularly NOM. And their leader is a French comedienne, Frigide Barjot, whose nom de plume is apparently a sexual pun on the name of French actress’ Brigitte Bardot.  Quite a recipe for success.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the gay-bashing.  The French public gave a collective sigh, and didn’t come to side of the bigots (a majority of the French support gay marriage).  But some else did.  The French far right, most notably violent white supremacists.

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.

And it didn’t help that the leaders of the Catholic church and the anti-gay coalition both appeared to give a nod and a wink to the growing anti-gay violence in France that ran tandem to their anti-gay campaign.

So, you’ve got a movement running contrary to public opinion, that’s already lost (the gay marriage law is on the books and France started having gay nuptials weeks ago), and what do you do?  You attack the country’s cultural patrimonie – France’s version of mom, baseball and apple pie.

Yeah, not so bright.

And what better way to show the world your opposition to all things gay than to have a bunch of nubile young men, with six pack abs and wonderfully-crotch-hugging painted-on pants, rip off their shirts and run half-naked through every big cultural event in France.

Homoerotic anti-gay protesters disrupt French Open finals

I know I wasn’t thinking of marriage when I was checking out those abs.

Now, had France’s anti-gay right considered doing these things BEFORE the law was passed, it might have made a difference.   The apparent goal of the anti-gays was to make the proposed marriage equality law seem to be a “disaster” for France.  Protests everywhere.  Death threats against gays.  Violence.  Hate crimes.  More hate crimes.  Even terrorist mailings to the parliament.  Oh the humanity!

Jean François Copé, leader of the French opposition UMP party. (credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen)

Jean François Copé, leader of the French opposition UMP party. (credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen)

And sometimes that can work, though it’s risky.  This seems to have been the plan of France’s UMP opposition party (that’s Sarkozy’s party).  They hitched their wagon to the anti-gay hate coalition in the hopes it would bring them back to office. But the problem with a strategy like this is that you have to do it BEFORE the law passes, not after.

Do it before the law passes, and maybe you sow fear.  Do it after you’ve lost, and you just tick people off and look pathetic.

So “chapeau!” (hats off!) to the French Catholic church and the UMP (and UMP leader Jean-François Copé who gets a special Darwin Award all by himself), who are so desperate for power that they would create a political movement that inspires hate crimes against a minority, terrorist mailings to congress, and a sustained attack on France’s most revered cultural heritage – and do it all AFTER they’ve already lost.

It really takes a special kind of stupid to hitch your political wagon to anti-gay hate in the year 2013, and then do it badly.  Then again, as Napoleon reportedly once said:

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.


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, .

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  • jean

    This article is very biased and untrue.

    It is not just about religious right. Polls in France show that 55% of the population is against the gay marriage law. Not because they are homophobes but just because specificities of the french civil law could lead to some unique situations as described on this website

    More information on http://www.lamanifpourtous.fr/en/ (point 4)

  • sJames6621

    HIM a thens of thousand s of others – right wing fundie pastors who eg believe 9this was on TV about a week ago) that the USA deserved 9-11 because we turned away from god.

    The MF who said that should be given to the ruskis as a worer in the soveit far east Gulag

  • sJames6621

    thats part of what happened – think of what evangelism means

  • sJames6621

    mmany people dont realize that stalin went to a Russian orthodox church seminary in his life and the RoC is seen by some as a proto type, religious version of the MKVD and the KGB. Thats part of what made Russia what it was and is

    Communism – from each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs was a great idea. Unfortunately as most nations are born and reborn in blood, eg the USA, teh wrong people got to tae over when the romanovs were toppled

  • sJames6621

    its all aboutt demonizing minorities for power. The holocaust actually started when hitler took power in 1933

    Of course it really was set up when the church spenat a thousand years hating gays, amplified by the first vatican council which established the doctrine of infallibility.

    Making him a tyrant not unlike most other dictators.

  • sJames6621

    Cum on now – just reinstate frances old trick – a devils island. Englands old trick was to send criminals to Australia

    Today we’d best implement that by sending them to the head hunters of Borneo or restrting the roman games – eg Tigers VS xtians.

  • sJames6621

    the moral majority is neither

  • sJames6621

    Better at the town garbage dump. Be sure to have a 1 franc loaner of a pistol with only 1 bullet available at the gate.

  • facebook

    hmm…sounding a little…stalinish, no?

  • HopeandChange

    I hope the HIV virus evolves into a more lethal and drug resistant form soon. And then we can watch all the sick fu*king fag*ots die in the agony they deserve.

  • nevilleross

    The best thing would be to exile them to space-just find World X of System Y and send them in a Conestoga-class starship to get there-but unfortunately, Zefram Cochrane won’t be born for a while yet, and we haven’t figured out the problem of how to do fusion yet, let alone how to make anti-matter or deuterium.

  • nevilleross

    Perhaps if the USA hadn’t allowed fundamentalist Christians to go to Russia on missionary trips (as well as give Russia the help it needed to build a strong economy that wasn’t military) Russia wouldn’t be like this now. The USA should hang its (collective) head in shame.

  • Butch1

    When is someone going to disrupt the “religious right” in France or are they too scared of them? These children need a time-out.

  • willbnyc

    enlevez le masque, lâche!!! That should be on every t-shirt in France. These cowards run around masked, in large groups, intimidating smaller groups or even individual people Cowards!

  • thriver7

    I’m a franco-american who helped get the DP bill passed in parliament back in the day.
    I want to add a few more tasty nuggets:

    - 72% of french were for gay marriage before the UMP lost the presidency and both chambers in 2012, that number dropped by 12-15 points after the election. On closer look it was all right wing voters who changed their mind after the elections.

    - this was electoral promise #31 – one of the more benign ones for most progressive French

    - so the government didn’t push it through early on – instead they waited. it came up just when the party that just lost everything held elections for their party head which came up with 2 winners and evidence of corruption (they still haven’t really figured out who big daddy of that party is).

    - As the article says that party is really eager to get the votes of the extreme right – but if you ask most French people they’ll assure you they NEVER vote extreme right. Except in the south it is still a shameful secret that few people own up to,

    - This is the first time since the PS tried to defund catholic schools in 1985 that the right wing actually has an “identity” fight to jump on and run with.
    In short it was the perfect storm.

    - the outgoing president was such a spaz that the french purposely elected a paper-pushing technocrat who really doesn’t like drama. Seeing that it was causing a lot of strife he decided to give the debate a LOT of time in parliament – giving the right wing carte blanche to say heinous things about gay folks for hours and rally the troops.

  • http://fighttherightwingnuts.blogspot.com/ mike31c

    I encourage all RWNJ’s to please commit suicide inside Notre Dame. France and the world is better off without your ignorance and bigotry.

  • Ted Hayes

    Further proof that the Religious Right is WRONG!!!

  • http://sonic.net/~ckelly/Seekay/mtbwelcome.htm RepackRider

    Other than scathing public opinion for the perpetrators, there is no way to protect the Tour from attack. It covers up to 175 miles of public road, lined on both sides by hundreds of thousands of spectators. There is no admission charge or gate to pass through. Anybody can go. The Tour has been attacked on several occasions, most recently with the favorite device, tacks on the roadway near the top of a climb.

    Taking credit for an attack on one of the most popular sporting events worldwide is politically risky as described, and attacks are sometimes anonymous. The major victims are the riders themselves, who suffer more than any other professional athletes to begin with. They are at risk of serious injury, and a rider’s lifetime of effort may be negated by a few cents worth of tacks on a road.

  • Normandy

    start shooting-these religious bigots will not contribute anything to society-just wipe ‘em out

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    There must be a way to ridicule Russia among the more civilized nations to insult its regressive backwards culture. Satire and ridicule are such powerful tools.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “when you keep saying married gay couples disrupt society,” Yep, I can only think that straight married couples with their strollermobiles and absurd infant accessorizing have disrupted life considerably in Noe Valley, The Castro, the Village and are proving a nuisance to the indigenous populations therein.

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

    I know. As I remarked the other day, one of the reasons the Russians are going after the gays is because they’ve already driven out (or imprisoned in gulags until they died) nearly all of the Russian Jews.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Rimbaud and Cocteau who?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    yep

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We could expect nothing less of a priest that gave tacit support to a dictatorship that dropped thousand of students, dissidents, and intelligentsia from planes to drown in the sea. Then, the old bastard worked among the poor to sooth his conscience and takes the name of Francis as Pope—-what utter blasphemy and business as usual. I might keep an eye out for any Papal plane flying low over the Bay of Naples.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well, I’m afraid that Mr. God will keep punishing the innocent until Pat Robertson dies.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    When the state declares genocide law then we have Holocausts like the Nazi period. Russia is no stranger to genocide and its non-ending racism against perceived Jews is centuries of murderous tradition.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Careful, Mr. Jeez is listening!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Amen to that! The history of the RCC is mostly rotten apples and a scattering of true Christians at the base.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Yes, “inspiring”. Are you under some misapprehension that the word means praise? It is a neutral word. To deny that the idea of Christianity (Christianity itself, mark you, not necessary of the Roman brand, although you seem to have concluded that’s all I meant) hasn’t been a great moving force for both ill and good is just stupid. Jeez, try to think a little more.

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

    I think what you suggest is just common sense these days. Moreover, it’s clear there are some countries where one has to be a fool to visit as a tourist if you’re LGBT.

    Some nations in Africa have already declared a genocide upon gay people. Now it looks like formerly 1st world countries like Russia plan to follow suit, albeit first by criminalizing being gay or supporting the right to be LGBT. And we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking there aren’t forces here in America who want the same thing.

    As with the African American community in the 1960s, advances in civil rights are almost always met with a degree of violent opposition. Sometimes from the government itself.

  • Betty McG

    A few years ago some group, maybe peta, tried disrupting a stage of the Tour. The British commentators were laughing because the only way they knew about it was listening to the race radios. They went on to talk about the protection for the race. It seems it is provided by the Republican Guard with a bit of backup and training from the special service that protects the President. They are riding front, back and through out the race. The only time there seems to be a problem with the fans being difficult is at the top of climbs when the riders are spent and going about the speed of a jogger. There has been a few fan incidents, stepping out in front of riders, this year in other smaller races but the other fans weren’t kind to the offenders. And the driver of the media car that hit Hoogerland and Flecha in 2011 lost his license over the incident.

  • nicho

    powerful and inspiring social forces the world has ever known

    Inspiring??? Read the history. The Roman church has been one of the most degenerate, violent, self-serving, and brutal institutions the world has ever known. Some low-level individuals within the church have done some good things, but the institution itself has been horrid, almost from the get-go.

    If you read the official history (propaganda) it looks like what you described (with a few bad apples). If you read the real history, it’s a completely different story.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Always applaud when your enemy is a fool—Sun Tzu

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I know it’s not a popular concept but, here goes. Deadly attacks against the GLTBQ communities is rising. When this occurred in the Jewish communities of the 1930′s only a few fought back and simply couldn’t not conceive that in a civilized nation such attacks would be not be brought to justice. We learned the hard way back in the day in SF. The worst thugs were cops. I say defend yourselves, carry mace, pepper spray. teasers (legal or

    illegal) baseball bats or even a small gun. Be offensive in situations like the rise of racist fascism in France or even worse, what seems to be a cultural and genocidal war against gays in Russia. Better to commit an illegal act, than die beaten to death in the streets. Fight back!.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Excellent comment!

  • Monoceros Forth

    I saw that story. I have a feeling the ultimate idea is to pretend to deal with the pedophilia scandal by blaming it all on teh ghey cabal.

  • Monoceros Forth

    It’s sad. Nearly two thousands years (depending on where you start counting) of spiritual and intellectual and artistic tradition, both good and evil, one of the most powerful and inspiring social forces the world has ever known, has degenerated at least into a mere petty-minded obsession with sexual decorum. All other values and moral concerns have been flung over the side. The most important function of the Church, one that by far outweighs all else, is now to punish people who have sex in the wrong way. Good job.

  • dcinsider

    Does this make me a published author? :)

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

    Or, opposition to all things gay by having a Facebook page decorated with a photograph showing a whole bunch of well-ripped young men on bikes, wearing body-hugging bike-pants and half-open shirts and jackets.

    I agree: In a way, I’m almost glad to see the bigots making fools of themselves and annoying the heck out of people. Not at all happy about those being targeted by the anti-gay violence though.

    Here’s what I’m wondering: Is anyone running polls to see the trend in French public opinion on same-sex marriage, now that it’s the law and now that the haters are being so disruptive?

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

    It’s also why the GOPers here keep passing bills to restrict or abolish women’s reproductive rights, and “don’t say gay” laws, and for that matter, keep voting to repeal the PPACA: It serves mainly to get the radical base worked up and held in a steady state of hate.

  • nicho

    Well since the new “reformer” pope has indicated a new anti-gay witch hunt within the Vatican, I’m guessing they won’t be realizing it for a long time.

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/06/12/pope-francis-says-gay-lobby-at-work-inside-vatican/

  • Gaybygod

    Alas … When will the Catholic church, realize, like the Mormon church, that “what one sows, so shall they reap.
    Hate, discrimination, condemnation, and promotion of crucifixion … does not go unnoticed in the eyes of God.

  • drbrentzenobia

    Then there’s the “spokesperson” for French Spring making the ridiculous claim that SSM ie simply an attempt to import gender theory to France from America. Who knew.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Never realized that was attributed to Napoleon. Just added it to the post, thanks

  • S1AMER

    I like the way the forces of hate in France continue shooting themselves in their collective foot. Methinks they’re winning us more friends than anything we could do (even the sweetest, weepiest wedding!).

  • ldfrmc

    Well, when you keep saying married gay couples disrupt society, you have to do ‘something’ to ‘prove the prediction.’

    I thought the French Open incident was an advertisement for Phantom of the Opera in Paris. Can’t dance. Can he sing?

  • dcinsider

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

    Napoleon Bonaparte

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yup.

  • rerutled

    The strategy of the UMP is not unlike Nixon’s Southern strategy. They see a passionate, politically engaged bloc of voters who will reliably show up to the polls, and all they need do to get them is dog-whistle every few months, perhaps toss a doomed bill into the mix every so often, and get their leader to decry “the way things are” (which stands for both the status quo of law — in this case, French Marriage Equality — and the fact that the other party is in power). Do that, and at a cost of very little, that bloc of voters is yours, forever.

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