Wednesday, April 24, 2013

John Aravosis on Marriage Equality Protests in France: Political Analysis (and Religious Players)

At Americablog Gay, John Aravosis has two good pieces today (here and here) on the ongoing violence roiling France with the debate about marriage equality. As he notes, the coalition between some Catholic leaders and the political hard right in France is squarely implicated in the violence, though Frigide Barjot has tried to distance her Catholic movement from the violent anti-gay backlash after she initially promised that President Hollande would have blood for promoting marriage equality. 

As John Aravosis notes, Barjot is now echoing the line of Cardinal Vingt-Trois of Paris that the violence taking place in France as marriage equality is enacted is reactionary violence responding to the violence of the government itself. John also reminds us that Barjot and her Catholic protest movement are very closely aligned with the American anti-gay (and heavily Catholic) group the National Organization for Marriage. As far as I know, NOM hasn't issued any statement at all deploring the violent actions of protest that continued in France yesterday following the passing of the marriage equality bill.

John notes that hashtags calling for the death of gay folks (about which I spoke briefly yesterday) trended on Twitter immediately after the gay marriage vote. He also provides good political analysis of the situation in France, which, though it's a Catholic country, is also a largely secular nation in which support for marriage equality is strong.

As he notes, the religious and political right are using the issue of gay rights (and they're using gay human beings in the process) as a wedge issue in the very same way in which the Republican party in the U.S. has used gay rights and gay human beings for decades now. The real objective is to attack and undermine François Hollande and his socialist government. 

And it is because homophobia merges with anti-Hollande, anti-socialist sentiment that these protests have taken off in some sectors of French society, despite the widespread support for gay rights and gay marriage. As John concludes the second of the two articles on this topic at his site today, "And if it takes bashing in the heads of a few, or a lot, of gay people to worm their way back into power, the minority conservatives, the Catholic Church, and Christian conservatives are only too happy to oblige."

P.S. Please note the wonderful information reader Chris Morley has provided in comments here yesterday re: the situation in France, as well as the vote in Rhode Island. I'm playing catch-up right now with comments here, and haven't yet had a chance to do more than scan Chris's valuable comments--but I want to make sure readers see these and, I hope, read them for further commentary.

The photo of Frigide Barjot from a demonstration against marriage equality Monday is by Agence France-Presse.

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