Comments

  1. jjose712 says

    For once spain was way ahead of france, not only for legalize gay marriage 8 years before, but because even our right behave way better.
    There was outrage, loud mouthed bishops, and over the top predictions, but there were not gay bashings on the streets and no climate of hatred.
    For being the land of egalite and fraternite, the behaviour was a big big dissapointment.
    I always predicted that they overcome the situation as fast as it happened in Spain but i’m not that sure

  2. Just_a_guy says

    Granted, I haven’t been in France for a decade, but the French being slow and backwards on gay rights unfortunately doesn’t shock me. The French seemed very closeted to me.

    That said, the Towleroad French lessons video and the shirtless French gay guy video were both adorable and heartening.

  3. titbug says

    The last paragraph is key and explains one of the differences with Spain.
    In both countries, the right-wing tried to turn it into a political weapon against the left-wing government. Except that Zapatero’s government was popular when they passed SSM whereas Hollande is hideously unpopular.

    And as far as gay bashing and violence goes, two things:
    1) Let’s not overstate the extent to which these things are happening. A handful of well-publicized incidents at a delicate tension-filled time do not a trend make.
    2) France’s political history has always been one of the most violent of the Western world. It is not unheard of for things to easily become mass demonstrations and violent acts there.

    The whole thing has been particularly ugly and disappointing but ultimately the process will unfold just like it unfolded in every other country that passed SSM and people will not care in a couple of years. And let’s remember that even after SSM was politicized and so much noise has been made by the antis, every single poll still show SSM support at 60% (SS adoption is what suffered in the polls but still 50-50)

  4. Tom says

    It does indeed seem like alot has changed in France over the past many years, and not for the better. Sad.

  5. titbug says

    @Just a guy

    Can you spare us the offensive comment about the French?
    The opposition has been more vocal there than in other countries and yet polls still show more support for SSM there than here – even now.
    So spare me

  6. Gigi says

    In a country where you’re considered odd if you don’t have extramarital affairs, I can’t believe there’s such resistance to same-sex marriage.

  7. jim says

    Interesting to see the French have chosen to develop a backbone protesting a human right like marriage equality considering these sniveling cowards rolled over and screamed Uncle in 2nd WW. They’d be speaking Russian if it weren’t for the Free World. You owe us your support Frogs and we expect it now.

  8. titbug says

    @ Jim

    They’d be speaking Russian. What kind of run-down History lessons have you gotten? If you are going to be insulting the French, get your anti-French talking point right. They’d be speaking *German* is the insult. The USSR never was involved in trying to invade France.

    @ Gigi
    Those are the same right-wing people who deserted Sarkozy after his highprofile divorce and remarriage. Again, a vocal conservative minority does not equal the “French”. A large majority of French do not care about extramarital affairs and do not care about SSM. Those people are vocal and active. They are not a whole country.

  9. titbug says

    @ Jim

    They’d be speaking Russian. What kind of run-down History lessons have you gotten? If you are going to be insulting the French, get your anti-French talking point right. They’d be speaking *German* is the insult. The USSR never was involved in trying to invade France.

    @ Gigi
    Those are the same right-wing people who deserted Sarkozy after his highprofile divorce and remarriage. Again, a vocal conservative minority does not equal the “French”. A large majority of French do not care about extramarital affairs and do not care about SSM. Those people are vocal and active. They are not a whole country.

  10. jim says

    Sorrt “titbug”( nice nickname for GED scholar like yourself). The rest of the Cold War ( lesson cones after 8th grade- that was the US and USSR conflict which almost led to WW3) the only thing that stopped Stalin and Khrushchev from overrunning Western Europe ( which includes the brave and moral French) was us. Merely making a point about how its their time to pay it forward instead of regress. Ps- start drinking decaf your Tourettes is kicking in as your message posted 2x

  11. GCS says

    Jim, if it hadn’t been for French efforts during WW1, YOU would be speaking German right now and would likely be nothing but a colony.

    Step aside and let actual discussion take place.

  12. titbug says

    The French has the nuclear weapon. The USSR wasn’t going to invade France. There was literally not ever talk of this happening.
    This is idiotic. The anti-French insult is the German one. Yes, the US helped liberate France from the Germans. From USSR? Not so much
    Anyway, may I say, all this is completely unrelated to our current conversation.
    My point was: the cheap insults against the French and the hideousness of these very vocal protests should not mask the fact that support for SSM in French poll has stayed steady at 60-65%. Not worthy of painting the French as an intolerant nest of homophobes because of a few whackjobs

  13. jjose712 says

    titbug; You are probably right, whe SSM passed in Spain, the economics were very different, there were a lot of protest including some ex ministers, but it wasn’t as violent as in France.
    In time of crisis there’s always a rise on xenophobia and hatred against minorities, and i think that can influence the level of protest.
    And you are probably right, in a couple of years, some of the protesters would feel shame of their actions, and most people will not care at all about SSM.
    At least, that’s what i hope

  14. says

    Let’s keep focused; the enemies of equal rights are the homophobes and the religions which are still in the Middle Ages……not the French.

    As for WWII, give me a break; we can all quote this or that war, atrocity, etc. as a stick to beat another side.
    Our work is to advance equal esteem for all gays in all societies in the face of the extreme right wing religious zealots who are and will push back against us.
    Insulting the French is childish.

  15. Rexford says

    Re: “Right wingers argue, the Left has no right to legislate on moral issues as well.”

    So the Right has the right to do this by denying égalité?

  16. just_a_guy says

    I’m with Jose, in that I want to be hopeful. In fact, I am–cautiously. As for my above properly-couched comment about my experience in France, I don’t see it as me insulting the French.

    Instead, I’m just saying, French people: The world is watching. Will you make us proud?

    What’s more, why NOT casually comment on French cultural development amidst the gay rights movement? See also Scott Gunther’s “The Elastic Closet, A History of Homosexuality inFrance, 1942 to present” (2009, ch. 4).
    http://academics.wellesley.edu/French/facultyhomepages/gunther/Scott%20Gunther%20-%20The%20Elastic%20Closet.html

    Also, are a weird percent of gay bars in Paris still unmarked? I never really understood that.

  17. Jim says

    Looks like French gays are getting a nasty dose of the same rightwing poison that we American gays have endured for the last, oh, thirty years or so. Apparently hate is the only political motivator on the right. Blacks, gays, now Muslims–we’re all raw material to be chewed up in the rightwing political machine. The rightwing stands for nothing, believes nothing, values nothing–except power. They lust after it and will try to get it by any means that works. The American right has poisoned American society and paralyzed American political life. How sad to see it happening in France.

  18. Brian says

    In addition to the obvious corrections that titbug has made to Jim’s anti-French rants, I’m also not sure what he means by “pay it forward”. Because the US supposedly rescued France from communism or something, France is supposed to repay the favor by supporting gay marriage? Last time I checked, DOMA was still the law of the land in the US, so how would France’s support for gay marriage reward the US? Or are you saying that it was just the gays in America that “rescued” France? that would at least be consistent with your call for France to pay it forward, but would be as factually incorrect as all your other statements.

  19. jim says

    Aww poor victims getting their feelings hurt again. Peace out public schoolers. Learn both history and perspective and stick up for yourselves once in awhile.

  20. Mz says

    Face it, a vocal, reactionary segment of the french population is as fascist-loving as WW2-era Germany. Remember, they quickly dispatched their jews to concentration camps with little remorse. Meanwhile, there are lots of demented Eastern block refugees and expats in Paris (just like in Sacramento, frankly) who have decided to replace jews, gypsies and Poles (or whatever their neighbor is) with gays to scapegoat and discriminate against (and eventually kill). And the catholic church is clearly still pissed about everything that knocked themselves out of #2 status (after the aristocracy) and want it all back — in France and everywhere else. Then there are the millions of Muslims, esp. in southern France, who can get really empowered with these mobs (“hey, we’re just like you, we want to kill the gays and take their stuff, too.Let’s march about it over some Moroccan coffee, mon ami”).

  21. bambinoitaliano says

    It goes to shows where some of these people priority lies when it comes to political and social issues. They might be the generations of those who kept themselves quiet when the Nazis roll over the country a few decades ago. A character consistent with cowards.

  22. Craig Nelson says

    The situation in France is very delicate and indeed concerning. As to why it is happening it is difficult to say as there are a number of factors.

    Both Spain and Portugal have recent lengthy periods of dictatorship. They are therefore very proud of their democratic parliamentary heritage and more likely to accept the law once passed.

    French ‘hard right’ thinking is difficult to appreciate if you’ve never lived there and goes back a long time (Louise de Bonald, Joseph de Maistre and others, around the time of the Revolution). There are many hard right networks and groups – catholic, royalist and so on. This is not much appreciated outside France.

    The key thing is that Parliament has voted by a clear majority and carried the law. To continue to use disruption in the streets against the law is an attempt to impede parliamentary democracy and it is therefore very worrying to see the maistream parties of the right encourage these developments.

    I think the government made some timing mistakes. Had they moved very quickly to legislate having won the elections last year it would have been less painful.

    Another aspect is doing adoption at the same time as marriage. Freudian theories are much more widely accepted in France – for a lot of people they fear a child’s head will explode if they don’t get to go through an oedepal stage of development (I’m exaggerating a little, bit not much).

    In many countries adoption and marriage were dealt with separately. The UK has had adoption rights for sme sex couples for some time, but not marriage (yet) and there are countries with marriage equality but no adoption.

    A further element is the French have this thing called ‘filiation’ which has tended to be a very biological thing (though of course not in the case of people adopting). If you listen to the parliamentary debates the word filiation comes up again and again. Anglo Saxon countries tend to refer to ‘parenting’ rather than getting hung up on ‘filiation’.

    Finally the right wing UMP is very split over which person is leading them between two candidates and unifying around this questions seems to have calmed their internal troubles.

    My guess is that the current government should just proceed with the law (it has just one day of parliamentary debate left) and it will be well accepted in a few years, once people get used to it. The question is if the right come to power again will they reverse the law? My guess is not, though they are currently saying they would. My guess is they would make small changes – I could be wrong.

    A final question is whether the Manif pour tous goes on – currently they are saying they will stand canidates in the mayoral elections in 2014. If that happened and they won my guess is they would try to block application of the law (all marriages are done by the mayor or their representative in France) in their locality if elected. If thy carried on demonstrating I’d guess their numbers would continually decrease but not without spreading a lot of hate in French society and the connections with hard groups coming to the fore. Could be interesting if they competed in the next legilative elections, however (this has the potential for a French Tea Party).

    [Sorry for long post]

  23. titbug says

    I stand by everything you said Craig except the speculation about their candidate in mayoral elections.
    There won’t be any mayors elected from them. None. Whatsoever.
    Mark my words. I doubt they will even cross the threshold to have elected officials in any city. French people take mayoral elections very seriously. They ain’t gonna vote for a mayor based on one single – national – issue – that will already be old news by then on top of that. Frijide Barjot can see her five minutes of fame dying down since the bill will pas next week and want to extend it. There is nothing more to it.
    People who are against SSM already have viable options on the right-wing that ALSO have serious programs for their respective cities. The idea they would vote for candidates whose only program is hatred against the SSM is ludicrous.
    Not to mention that this conservative vocal minority isn’t exactly a very urban constituency

  24. says

    The article seems to make a connection between the demonstrations and violence against same-sex marriage and the poor performance of the French economy under the present government. Perhaps the right is trying to use ssm as a way / an excuse for citizens to “let off some steam” about other issues? Maybe I didn’t understand the article correctly…

  25. Rob says

    I am a huge francophile and speak the language but am really puzzled by this. How could such an educated country, a country so dedicated to art, and fashion and literature, and to secularism, be so anti gay? They are all nothing but warm to me and it’s not hard to tell I’m gay.

    Must have missed something on my last trip there.

  26. titbug says

    And to extend my debunking of your speculation about their impact on electoral politics …
    French right-wing voters already have TWO options from serious parties to vote against SSM if they are single-issue voters – and the single issue voters for this are very very few and they will be even fewer in 2017 which are the next national elections: the UMP and the FN. Why in hell would they vote for a minor party instead?
    Secondly the French legislative system does not leave any room for a a minor party to have deputes elected. it is a runoff system. Not gonna happen.
    The danger that some point out is that the “movement” energizes a vocally conservative youth (again small numbers but in a world where political apathy wins the day thats all it takes) that will then be integrated in mainstream right-wing UMP when they get older (like many of the current establishment left got their training in troskyist student unions two decades ago) and pull THAT party to the right.
    I find that to be dubious in the sense that the danger is mainly about troglodyte racial attitudes (and future alliances with the FN).
    Again, the fact SSM opposition is very vocal now does not mean it will be in any way a realigning debate in French politics. Most French people are over this debate and it will be like it was in any other country and state that passed it. Most people won’t give a you-know-what in a year.
    The rightization of the French right started with Sarkozy and is more dangerous when it comes to racial tensions. The SSM stuff will be forgotten com 2017.
    All those breathless pronouncements is the spin THEY want the media to report. If you talk to actual French people, it is clear it is all hype and very little impact.

  27. titbug says

    You understood perfectly correctly Muscleblog.

    And dear Rob. This pisses me off to no end.”How could such an educated country, a country so dedicated to art, and fashion and literature, and to secularism, be so anti gay?”

    How about: it is not? How about: a demonstration of 50 000 in a country of 65 million does not replace years of polls showing support for SSM at two-thirds of the population?
    What is wrong with all of you? Does not seem that hard to understand that a vocal minority – even heavily covered by the media – does not make public opinion?

  28. Sara says

    I am very annoyed at those who say that these protests don’t matter because the law will pass anyway. This is also the justification that the French gays and the French Left use to sit back passively instead of demonstrating their support for the law.

    While it may be true that the law will pass in spite of these anti-gay protests, the *way* in which the law passes does matter.

    Passage of marriage equality following a civil debate and strong multiparty support (as happened in Denmark, New Zealand and the UK) can boost the cause in other countries. By contrast, if it is seen as something that is hugely controversial and something that provokes public opposition, then that will make future governments in countries like Germany, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic think twice about going anywhere near the issue. And the more divisive it seems and the more it is portrayed as an important issue for conservative voters, the greater the likelihood that there would be a repeal effort once the conservatives retake power.

    The passivity and laziness of the French gays and their allies is helping to turn a popular measure into one that has the reputation of being risky and a vote loser. Shame on them.

  29. titbug says

    I understand how you feel Sara but I can assure you that the decision to take on SSM or not in those countries will have zero link to the current French debate. For instance, a sizable part of the German conservatives are currently pressing for a SSM debate that Merkel is preventing because of the CSU.
    I think you are overstating how each European political scene is interacting with each other. For better or for worse, the national cultures are too different for it to matter.
    And in the sense that they do observe what is happening, it is more significant to them as an observation of French politics than it is about the politics of SSM. Europeans are keenly aware of their differences and they know how the French turn everything in major drama.

  30. Sara says

    Titbug –

    I hope you are right. But it is hard to see why the German and Austrian rightwing wouldn’t take notice of France and be more likely to turn it into a galvanizing issue. If the demonstrators had been more balanced, there would be less of a temptation. Incidentally, the police put this demo at 45,000 and the pro-gay demo at 3,500. Considering that our side is the majority position and considering that this issue will actually impact gay people (and will not impact the lives of the Manif demonstrators at all) it is pathetic and shameful that our side is outnumbered by 13:1. What exactly are these French gays doing today that is so important that they couldn’t come out to demonstrate?

    Anyway, I just read that according to Le Parisien, a BVA poll taken this week shows 58% support for marriage equality but 53% opposition to gay adoption. The BVA number on support for gay marriage is 5% better than the results of an April 4 CSA poll, and the adoption number is the same as the CSA poll.

    However, I would really like to compare this BVA poll to the previous BVA poll, since this most recent poll was taken after the acts of vandalism by Printemps and violent attacks on gay bars. I’d be interested in seeing whether the violence and extremism of Manif Pour Tous has had any impact on public opinion. If this had been going on in the US, support certainly would have dropped for Manif following reports of violence. Unfortunately, I cannot find the BVA polls online.

  31. titbug says

    1) On the polling issue, it is simple. As I said earlier support for SSM has stayed steady in polls from different polling institutes at around 60%. Adoption – because that has been the main talking point of the opponents – has suffered but most polls find the divide between 45-45 and 5055/45 against. But remember one thing: you are at the height of the debate. It is highly politicized (I mentioned before my mom with two gay sons and no problem with SSM until the right-wing party she votes for made it an issue against Hollande whom she loathes) right now and the opponents are on TV all the time giving their opinion. If these are the numbers at the worst of the worst of the debate, you can sleep soundly. In six months I predict support back uo at 65-70. Adoption will be back to what it was before all this which was a slim majority for it within six months as well. Don’t sweat the numbers. If this is the worst they can do when the debate is at its hottest, then really that shows that the French are very supportive contra the cliches spouted here and there in this comment section.

    2) German and Austrian conservatives could not care less what the French do. You misunderstand the interaction between the different European countries’ politics. There will be zero impact. Nil. They don’t care about the French. And they know their own country and France enough to know those are two very different people who react very differently to things. And if admitting that other countries politics was a source of inspiration or fear (again: not) for them, why wouldn’t they be as inspired by the English example instead? English institutions and English culture are much much much closer to the German than the French are (do I need to tell you why there is no history of German demonstrations and street movements in the modern era?). And it went pretty smoothly there. What will matter will be their own assessment of where the German public is and the polling shows it to be open.
    Interestingly, I would think your own comparisons between the Spanish and French examples would illustrate what Europeans themselves are well aware of: they are very different from each other, their political dynamic are very different, the contexts are always different. They know each other well enough to know that.

  32. Sara says

    – Polling:

    I agree with you completely that the polls worsen as the debate intensifies and then they improve. We have seen the same phenomenon in the US, where the steady growth of support for SSM experienced a sharp dip during the 2004 election, when President Bush made it an issue. Then it resumed its previous trend. We have seen the same thing in New Zealand and in individual US states. Support goes up, then it dips during the actual debate preceding a vote, and then it resumes its previous trend. Indeed, in individual US states, passage of the law results in an increase in the rate at which support for SSM grows. So I agree that 6-12 months from now, we should see better polls than today.

    However, I was getting at a different issue, which is whether the recent violence might have harmed Manif. The only way to determine that is to compare polls from immediately before the violence to those immediately after.

    – Other European countries:

    I didn’t mention Spain, so I am not sure what you are talking about.

    As far as Germany and other countries looking to the UK as an example, I would say that in the UK too, there was passivity and inaction on the part of the pro-gay side. Public demonstrations were less of an issue, but the “passion gap” showed up in other ways, such as the disparity in telephone calls and emails to MPs, submissions during the consultation phase, and signatories on public petitions. As a result, while the pro-equality side looks like it will come out the winner, the issue became more contentious and more controversial than it needed to be. More Tories voted against than voted for, which meant that the government needed opposition votes to get it passed. The whole issue now is seen as popular, but deeply divisive for the Conservative Party. I doubt that PM David Cameron is happy that he pushed the issue.

    This has consequences. So for example, if I were the head of the Liberal Party in Australia (which is their right wing party), the UK experience would not embolden me to move forward on this issue. Could this have been minimized if our side had been more vocal and active, dominating the consultation phase and persuading a majority of Tory MPs to vote in favor? I don’t know, but when has inaction and apathy ever made anything better? Whether this same dynamic might impact other conservative leaders outside the Anglosphere, such as Angela Merkel, I don’t know. I appreciate your confidence that it won’t and I hope you are correct.

  33. Francis #1 says

    Gay marriage polls in France aren’t at 65% from what I’ve seen. It’s dropped to the mid/upper-50s. It was in the 60s and then dropped. The last one I’ve just seen has it at 58%. I’ve seen the numbers fluctuate between 53-58%. So it’s somewhere in the mid-to-upper 50’s. A majority but not a major one. Adoption numbers have also dropped and are below 50% now. So something has happened in the country and support for equality isn’t rising. We can’t just write that off as right-wing extremists; it’s clear this is a backlash against our community occurring in France as a result of Catholics driving up hatred.

    Attacking France as a country is inappropriate, though.

  34. titbug says

    Well funny you mention the Australia Liberal Party because this very week the Liberal premier of New South Wales came out in favor of same-sex marriage and Tony Abbott – the leader known henceforth as the mad monk – signaled in private to the Australian that after the election in September they will switch their position from a whipped vote against SSM to a free vote. Considering the numbers in both parties, that means there will be a potential bipartisan majority for it (depending on the results of the election). It won’t pass just yet but that a man known for his extremely conservative views would signal a change of policy like this is proof that, again, each political context is different.
    No, French political demonstrations won’t have any impact on any other country.

    And ,Francis, I stand by what I said that the number is steady at 55-60% depending on the methodology. That’s a healthy majority, especially again in the midst of the heated debate where the politicization is at its height. And yes there is now a slight majority against adoption – again there was a slight majority for it only two months ago which is proof that what is moving the numbers is not a deep homophobia but the tenor of the debate and that once the souffle falls back and the politics is taken out of it, it will be back to what it was before. If the French were homophobes, those numbers would have been negative in the first place. The fact they are losing a few points is proof that what is turning people off is the association with each political party – not the underlying issue where, when there was no politics involved, noone cared about.
    Didn’t you read the study that showed that once told Obama supported the abrogation of a fictitious law, a huge majority of Republicans suddenly strongly supported that law – that again didn’t exist? Same thing. The minute this became Hollande’s same-sex marriage bill rather than a same-sex marriage bill, it became tribally correct for right-wing voters to express distaste for it. It won’t matter in six months.

    There is no backlash among the general population. There is a very vocal minority using this to reenergize their troops. Most random citizens are over this debate and wants this to be over so France can focus on its major economic problems. They don’t care anymore and wants this to be done and over with. It is very easy to be disheartened and impressed because the media coverage hypes up the movement. And it is an interesting movement to dissect and it does hold some interest to rediscover a rarely-seen but longstanding part of the French populace (the people who supported the leagues in 1934 for instance). But you all have to be wary of overstating its significance in the long – or even middle – term.

  35. andrew says

    On what do the French, who oppose gay marriage, base their opposition? I doubt it is religion. Most French people are Roman Catholics in name only. Fewer than 12% or 13% of them attend Mass regularly and in Paris, Mass attendance is said to be in the single digits. The great majority of French people like the great majority of Western Europeans ignore the Church’s teachings on morality.

  36. titbug says

    Which is why “The French” do not oppose same-sex marriage.
    A vocal minority of actively Catholic and Muslim French do and those are the ones you see in the street.
    They may be a minority but there are a coherent community that can mobilize and be visible as you see right here.
    But “The French” do not.

  37. Javier says

    Someone correctly pointed out that support for marriage equality has dropped to about 53 percent in the latest polls. The antigay marches and protests have eroded equality support.

  38. titbug says

    No, Javier. They dropped to 53% in one poll and stick to nearer 60% in all others.

    And as I said many times, how do you explain support dropping if you believe that? Why would people suddenly realize they have a problem with SSM that they did not have a month ago? Because, once again, the debate has become a proxy for a right/left divide and has become identified with an unpopular president.
    Homophobes wouldn’t have supported SSM then suddenly changed their mind. The drop in support is linked to the political significance of the question as the political debate unfolds. If people were up to 65% supportive of the underlying issue, obviously, they will go back to not caring once the political significance of it will drop.

    Not hard to figure out.

  39. simon says

    The most important parts of the bill: marriage and adoption were voted without any modification in both chambers. There were some other small changes in the Senate which the lower house will likely accept. I am not even sure what the protesters want to accomplish. It is already water under the bridge.

  40. Javier says

    Reuters quoted an April BFM-TV poll that found that 53 percent of the French public supports same-sex marriage. Support for allowing same-sex couples to adopt is not quite as strong, at 41 percent. Four months ago, the French public polled with some 48 percent in favor of same-sex couples being granted the right to adopt children.

  41. titbug says

    I don’t understand why you keep repeating the same thing Javier.
    Yes there was one poll that said 53. other polls taken at the same time said higher. I am sure you have been around enough to know different polling houses get different results depending on the question, the sampling, etc.
    The media quotes the most “dramatic” of the polls rather than the ones that show no movement? Shocker.

  42. DONOVAN says

    You know what, the comments about this when it comes to France are ALWAYS so weirdly off-base. Clearly, Towleroad has an anti-French streak of trolls who cannot understand that one country can have a diversity of people and views in it, and that incidents do not always reflect the viewpoint of every person of that nationality.

    Do you people think the Westboro Baptist Church represents the ENTIRE USA and ALL AMERICANS…? Then why would you make overly generalised statements like some of the ridiculous BS ? France is generally very liberal, quite friendly to homosexuals, homosexuals can already get civil unions!

    You people keep mentioning how you are dissappointed by the anti-gay marches – are you living here? Are you aware there are also pro-gay marches? Are you aware that marches and protests are an everyday occurrence here…?

    Please people, attack the French conservatives, instead of the entire country. Because the vast majority of it is pro-gay and pretty sexually liberal, especially compared to the USA.

    “How could such an educated country, a country so dedicated to art, and fashion and literature, and to secularism, be so anti gay?”

    …because it isn’t. It’s extremely pro-gay.

  43. Hank says

    Good analysis, Craig Nelson. I would add a few things.

    Everyone is angry with the socialist government; the right, because of the socialist’s anti-business posturing and tax increases, and the left, because where the rubber hits the road on issues of labor law, austerity-induced economic depression, and the euro stability pact, the ‘socialists’ are essentially caving to the neo-liberal, euro- integrationist, big capital agenda of the continent’s technocratic elite, who , whether they call themselves center-left or center-right,have completely abandoned the ordinary people.French people are scared and hurting, and feel abandoned by a government that is totally out of touch.

    In that context, it was incredibly tone-deaf of the government to introduce marriage equality at this moment. It gives the populist hard right a scapegoat in the gays, to ramp up their hate politics. Unfortunately it is allowing ‘phobes to come out of the closet, emboldening and legitimating anti-gay hate in a new way that may have a lasting impact.
    Another factor is that France’s LGBT community doesn’t really have homegrown activism or political and media presence to anything near the extent of the US. so they aren’t prepared to combat this. Instead, historically and culturally , France has had a more tolerant and realistic, and less shrilly politicized. view of human sexuality in general, which extended to gay people.

    In my opinion, it would have been wiser, from the point of view of LGBT people in France, to have just stuck with the broadly popular PACS civil union for now, which was a good reflection of where their mainstream consensus was – (ahead of the US, actually .)

    I think it remains to be seen how this will play out for France’s LGBT community in the future – whether there will be a lasting upsurge and new acceptability of hate, and if so, whether the community and allies will be able to organize an effective response. It is certainly possible, as those currents exist in France, most obviously in its’ racism.

  44. simon says

    Hank:
    “Good anaysis”?? “Everyone” was angry with Obama and he got reelected.It is a mad mad world. Isn’t it?

  45. just_a_guy says

    “Another factor is that France’s LGBT community doesn’t really have homegrown activism or political and media presence to anything near the extent of the US. so they aren’t prepared to combat this. Instead, historically and culturally , France has had a more tolerant and realistic, and less shrilly politicized. view of human sexuality in general, which extended to gay people.”

    If true, this observation seems like it might have substantial explanatory power. Interesting. And where does bisexuality fit into this social/cultural/political puzzle? Am I right to think of France as a place where bisexuality has been much more open? (I’m thinking of several prominent movies, etc.) If so, have non-bisexual gays there felt less of a need to galvanize themselves to protect their very personhoods?

    Is my above line of thought helpful in any context?

  46. John Lutz says

    Good job protesters.

    Do W H A T E V E R it takes to stop the

    spread of this H O R R E N D O U S L Y A B O M I N A B L E O F F E N S E before
    G O D.