André Labarrère, mayor of the southern France city of Pau, has died of cancer at 78.
Labarrère was one of France’s first openly gay politicians. The socialist mayor, who held his position since 1971, spoke frankly about homosexuality but opposed gay marriage, saying there were “enough cuckolds in the world not to add the gays.”
Despite his somewhat irrational objection to gays tying the knot, that did not stop Labarrère from encouraging gay youth to come out of the closet:
“To live as a homosexual is very difficult. When I declared myself gay it was to help young people, to say to them: look, you are homosexual. Accept the way you are. You’ll see the world doesn’t come to an end.”