As France Prepares for Marriage Equality, Opponents Warn of Civil War

For the past several months, equal marriage supporters around the world have watched with excitement as a marriage and adoption equality bill winds its way through France’s parliament. The French people strongly endorse same-sex marriage, and support for the right of married gay and lesbian couples to jointly adopt children sits just shy of 50 percent.

french_senateFrance’s Senate voted Friday to approve the landmark bill, but because it made minor changes to the adoption portion, the National Assembly must vote to approve the measure one more time before President François Hollande can sign it into law, which he has promised to do. Also on Friday, Hollande’s Socialist Party announced that the final vote — originally scheduled for May 20 — would instead be held the following Wednesday, April 17, keeping marriage and adoption equality on track to become law in France by summer.

But the push for equality has an ugly underbelly: hundreds of thousands of anti-equality protesters have marched violently through the streets of Paris, the nation’s Catholic bishops have denounced the proposed law, and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a U.S.-based anti-gay organization, has taken a leading role in organizing the opposition, which consists mostly of Roman Catholics and conservatives. And as the marriage equality bill moves closer to passage, brutal and bloody attacks on LGBT people have surged: the head of a French anti-homophobia organization told Raw Story this week that reports of anti-gay assaults in the first two months of 2013 were up by 200 percent.

frigide_barjotWhen Hollande’s government announced the fast-tracked final vote on Friday, several proponents of marriage discrimination responded with disturbing and violent threats. Frigide Barjot (center in photo at left), leader of “mainstream” anti-equality group Manif pour tous, vowed:

Hollande wants blood, and he will get it.

The threat marks a stark reversal from statements Barjot made just two days prior, when she claimed in the wake of a particularly savage anti-gay hate crime that her side “[denounces] violence.”

Christian Jacob, a deputy from the right-wing UMP party, echoed Barjot’s inflammatory words, warning that by speeding up the bill’s near-certain passage, Hollande “is risking a violent confrontation with the French people.” Fellow UMP parliamentarian Hervé Mariton added that the move was “an incitement to civil war.”

France’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community will find out in a matter of days whether these homophobes intend to make good on their chilling promises.

I wonder, do the French Catholic bishops and NOM — responsible for stirring up much of this anti-gay fervor — endorse their allies’ vulgar threats and violent attacks? If not, the clock is running out for both groups to issue a forceful and unequivocal condemnation.

In the meantime, their silence speaks volumes.


  1. lahontedenice

    I am ashamed to be French, watching the UMP party allign itself with bigots and idiots. It doesn’t even make any sense. We are a secular nation; a huge majority are atheists. I do not believe the numbers that 52% of French are against marriage equality. It is shocking that 1.4 million marched against equality in France.

    Frigide Barjot is a low rent personality–for those readers who cannot understand her in the countless interviews, she sounds like honey Boo Boo’s mother. She is full of herself, parading like a rock star of the Christian Right. Her followers are all bussed in from the “France profonde” and she is taking advantage of the general discontent with the socialist government.
    Carole Raphaelle Davis

    • David

      64% of French people endorse marriage equality while 52% of those are also for adoption rights for same sex couples.

    • David

      Also….I forgot to say that the police advised that 300K people marched against the equality bill, not 1.4MM as the right wing movement would like us to believe….there are not many, there are just very noisy and extremely talented to install fear among the ignorants…

  2. Scott Rose

    The blood of gay bashing victims is dripping off of the NOMzi Führer Brian Brownshirt’s fingers. It isn’t just coincidence that Catholic Church leaders in Vichy France participated in demonizing WWII-era homosexuals and getting them deported to concentration camps.

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  4. Brindusa-Katalin Poenaru

    I am totally shocked how easily people can get into violent fight over almost everything! In an era where you can learn and read and find out more about things you can’t really understand so many people choose only to violently reject, just like in the Dark/Middle Ages! Ignorance and intolerance are main issues in this modern world! It is so sad and disturbing! The second World War just…so recently ended…and we already forgot that labeling people could turn into mass murder! Today they dislike gay people, tomorrow they would dislike others! “Animal Farm” and “Brave New World” and “Fahrenheit 415″…were they written only for a few of us? Where is this world heading?

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