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 | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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