As France is expected to vote on a landmark gay marriage bill today, tensions have reached a whole new level. An anti-terrorist investigation was launched after Claude Bartolone, the head of France's National Assembly, was sent an envelope filled with gun powder with a letter containing death threats. The letter was signed by Interaction des forces de l’ordre, the radical right-wing group also behind the threatening letter to the judge hearing the charges against Nicholas Sarkozy.
"Allowing marriage for all would be the same as destroying all marriage," the letter read. "Our methods are more radical and direct than demonstrations. You wanted war, you've got it ... If you were to carry on regardless, your political family will have to suffer physically."
This anti-gay threat follows two members of the socialist party Sylviane Bulteau and Hugues Fourage receiving menacing letters threatning to kidnap their loved ones. Frigide Barjot, the leader of France’s primary anti-gay marriage group Manif Pour Tous, has also famously threatened the president. "Hollande wants blood, and he will get it," the radical said.
Sadly, politicians aren't the only ones who have been the target of violence. In recent months, there's been a spike in homphobic harassment and brutality.
Laure Pora, from the Aids awareness group Act Up, told The Guardian that homophobia isn't a new phenomenon but its expression has become more acceptable. "There's an increase in homophobia today in France. It has always existed but it wasn't always expressed so freely."
A recent poll showed that almost 60% of French residents agree with marriage equality. Despite the majority supporting gay marriage, the homophobic minority seem to be garneirng a lot of attention lately. After a photo of a homosexual man's beating went viral earlier this month, it became clear that France has a serious homophobia problem. The death threats to the Head Of French Parliament only make this even clearer.
The house is still expected to vote today and to become the 14th country in the world to pass gay marriage. The bill will also allow same-sex couples to adopt.
For more updates on France's gay marriage vote, follow me on Twitter: @feministabulous
Via France 24