France Gay Marriage: Hate Crimes Spike After Bill Passes

On April 23, the Marriage for All bill passed 331 to 225 in the French Parliament. Yet an unfortunate externality of the bill's passage is an alarming spike in homophobic hate crimes in France. Anti-gay extremists have headed violent and fascist protests against police, sent explosive letters to French Parliament, defaced a French LGBT center, and randomly attacked gay men in Paris, Bordeaux, Nice, and Lille.

Elizabeth Ronzier, head of the French activist group SOS Homophobie, reports a 30% increase in the number of homophobic and transphobic assaults between 2011 and 2012. Ronzier was also quoted saying, “In the two months to the end of February this year, we received the same amount of testimonies that we would normally get over a period of six months.”

The anti-gay French movement is spearheaded by a group called Manif pour Tous, led by comedienne Frigide Barjot. Barjot stated, "We want a peaceful demonstration and we reject all groups that directly target homosexual people." However, since the passing of Marriage for All bill, Bajot was quoted on record on April 12 saying, “Hollande wants blood, and he’s going to get it. Everyone is furious. We live in a dictatorship…”

Last month, the uptick of homophobic hate crimes (beginning after the Marriage for All bill was introduced) was brought to media attention after pictures of Wilfred de Bruijn’s battered face surfaced on Facebook following the brutal homophobic assault of Bruijn and his boyfriend in Paris by anti-gay extremists. Bruijn has since begun his own online poster campaign against the anti-gay movement called “Fight Back,” and had this to say about Manif pour Tous: “It wasn't Frigide Barjot who hit my boyfriend, but you can't ignore the narrow minded speeches being made.”

Barjot told France’s Info News Channel that she believes that the recent surge in homophobic hate crimes is occurring due to the Marriage for All bill is being imposed on half the French population by a slight majority, adding, “The violence comes from the way in which this was imposed.”

It was reported that that between 55 -60% of the country favors same-sex marriage. However, same-sex activists argue that the spike in homophobic hate crime stems from militant anti-gay protesters that do not understand that marriage is a right, not a political issue up for debate that can be supported by anachronistic religious views.