As the French National Assembly prepares to vote on final approval of marriage equality, anti-gay violence has severely escalated. Multiple guerrilla rallies by opponents of the law have taken place over the past few days, resulting in vandalized cars, assaulted journalists, and even death threats to lawmakers. A 24-year-old gay man was brutally beaten Saturday night after leaving a club with his boyfriend in the latest example of how the opposition is directly targeting gay people.Police have already made over 100 arrests over the past week.
Now, the president of the National Assembly has received a death threat:
Claude Bartolone, the Socialist president of France’s Assemblée Nationale (lower house of parliament) on Monday received a threatening letter containing gunpowder and demanding he defer a parliamentary vote, expected to definitively legalize gay marriage on Tuesday.
The one-page letter, signed by “an intermediary of law enforcement,” warns Bartolone that “our methods are more radical and more swift than protests”, according to French magazine L’Express.
The document concludes with the statement “You wanted war, and you’ve got it.” [...]
“Allowing marriage for all would be the same as destroying all marriage,” the letter says, before making the chilling threat: “If you were to carry on regardless, your political family will have to suffer physically.“
The National Organization for Marriage, which has direct ties to the French opposition through a newly (and somewhat secretly) launched International Organization for Marriage, has tried to downplay the level of violence. In an email last week, NOM’s Brian Brown claimed that “peaceful demonstrations” were taking place and blamed the violence on supporters of marriage equality — without much evidence to support it. Indeed, French President François Hollande has spoken out to condemn the homophobic violence specifically, which NOM has yet to acknowledge.
Given both chambers of Parliament have already approved the legislation and this week’s final vote is merely a technicality to resolve some amendments, marriage equality is coming to France. But thanks to groups like NOM stirring up conservatives, equality could come accompanied by uncontrolled anti-gay violence.
Watch a EuroNews clip highlighting the past week’s anti-equality protests: