Feature

France: Anti-gay campaign turns dark

The campaigners against gay marriage “have gone insane.”

Bruno Roger-Petit
Le Monde

The campaigners against gay marriage “have gone insane,” said Bruno Roger-Petit. The doomed struggle to deny civil rights to gays is led by Virginie Tellenne, a Parisian socialite and comedian better known by her stage name of Frigide Barjot, a pun on Brigitte Bardot that also means “frigid loony.” But this is no joke. Last week, after the upper house of the legislature joined the lower in backing the bill to legalize gay marriage, setting the date for a final parliamentary vote, Barjot seemed to call for civil war, or at least for the head of President François Hollande. “If Hollande wants blood, he’ll get it!” she shrieked. “We live under a dictatorship!” It was a peculiarly inapt response to a democratic vote in an elected legislature. But this is what the French Right has come to. “Hostility to gay marriage has developed into hostility to the Left, and by extension to the entire republic,” since the Left currently governs. The rhetoric is overtly violent. “There is real risk of a repeat of the events of Feb. 6, 1934,” when the far Right attempted a fascist coup. Under the five years of Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency, the Right grew ever more extreme, and it now perceives the Socialist government as weak. We’re in for a frightening spring.

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