As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Trying to beat them by joining them is one of the newest anti-gay marriage protests in France.
Last week, news outlets were buzzing as two male inmates, both serving long sentences for murder, were married in a civil ceremony.
Germain Gaiffe and Alfredo Stranieri had their “wedding ceremony” in a high-security prison at Poissy, near Paris. Gaiffe received a 30-yar sentence for beheading and chopping up a shopkeeper into pieces, and Stranieri gained the nickname the “small ads killer,” since he targeted his victims through classified advertisements, and was given a life sentence for killing four people and burying them in his garden. Both were sentenced in 2003.
As if the story needed more momentum, the two witnesses for the couple had a sort of celebrity status as well, in as distasteful of a light as those wed. Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a controversial comedian who is vocally anti-gay marriage and anti-Semitic, and Iich Ramírez Sánchez, internationally known terrorist and better known as “Carlos the Jackal,” was transferred to the prison for the ceremony. He is serving two life sentences for a raid in Vienna on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) headquarters in 1975, killing three people (though by his count he’s killed many more), and multiple bomb plots in Paris in the 1980s.
Does it all seem a bit too over-the-top? Others have thought so as well. The penitentiary union UFAP-Unsa Justice at the prison said that the wedding came from “just a desire to make some buzz,” and was altogether a “non-event.”
To discredit the couple further of supporting same-sex marriage in general, in 2011 they claimed to have fathered the child of a former French Politician, Rachida Dati, and courts added three months to each inmate’s time because of the defaming nature of the comments on Dati.
After same-sex marriage was legalized back in May there have been several protests by those in favor of “traditional” marriage and who have spoken out against lgbt rights.
Because of those in attendance, and the altogether high-profile nature of the ceremony, some are seeing past the shocking headlines and are realizing the absurdity of the situation. While anti-lgbt activists will likely use this prison wedding as ammunition against queer rights movements, possibly worldwide, more are coming to see it as less reality and more farce.