Gay Marriage in French Prison Is Actually Anti-Gay Marriage

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.

Gay Marriage Opponents in France More Violent and More Pink

If you’ve been worried about protesters arguing against gay marriage in the United States, you should hear about what’s been going on in France. Gay marriage in the country has been legal since May 18 of this year, and had a huge pride parade to celebrate a month later, but ever since its passage the country has had protesters demanding a change in some odd and scary ways.

After the ruling of the constitutionality of same-sex marriages, Paris saw protests flare up in its streets, some of which had to be broken apart by police forces.

The most violent anti-same-sex marriage group in France calls themselves “Hommen,” and they have been up to many things to protest within the country. Their main goals include “No to gay marriage” “Women and children first,” and “Protect kids.” The group’s main strategy for spreading their message has been to recruit young, good-looking men, put them in white masks, take away their shirts, and have them run around popular events in order to say that homosexuality is wrong. The color for the anti-same-sex marriage groups was chosen as bright pink and it is proudly displayed in the country as anti-gay. American news outlets have been happy to point out how against their own cause these groups seem to be.

Hommen is mirroring the appearance of Ukraine’s feminist group Femin which champions women’s rights worldwide. Their demonstrations involve going topless with political messages in public places, much like what Hommen has been doing. Except that is where the two groups diverge.

On June 9 members of the group protested at the French Open championship: two standing up and showing a banner that accused France of trampling on children’s rights, one lighting a flare and running onto the court, and ten others earlier in the day by trying to disrupt other matches. The protesters were turned over to and questioned by the police.

The group has recently been protesting the arrest of one of their members, Nicolas Bernard-Brusse, after he was caught by police after a protest in Paris. He was arrested along with 20 others by police after refusing to disperse from a demonstration, but he fled the scene, gave a false identity, and refused to submit to fingerprinting. Bernard-Brusse was the only one sentenced, with two months in prison with two months of suspension, the severity due to his challenging attitude toward magistrates as well as an earlier offense—for doing the same thing a month earlier. Hommen calls him a “political prisoner” and call for President François Hollande to release him from the “socialist dictatorship.” The group has also been calling for the removal of President Hollande, and actively demonstrates against him.

Unrelated to the group but kin to the movement, one man committed suicide in front of hundreds of tourists and worshippers at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris as a protest against both immigration and the dissolution of the “traditional family.” Dominique Venner, 78 and a leader of the modern extreme right in France, left behind a note where he explained that, “I think I need to sacrifice myself to break the lethargy that overwhelms us… I give myself to death… I protest against fate,” “poisons of the soul,” and “individual pervasive desires that destroy our family identities and anchors.

Most recently, during this month’s Tour de France, right-wing groups have been protesting at the bicycle race all across France. Calling themselves the “Tour of France for All,” families with banners of pink and blue have posted demonstrations on the sidelines throughout the country, showing pictures of a nuclear family—a mother, father, son, and daughter, all holding hands. The group has also scrawled messages on the roads in front of races. While they have threatened to disrupt the race with other means, thus far they’ve resorted to only demonstrating.

Setting the record straight on which side it is on, Paris on July 14 lit up the Eiffel Tower in rainbow colors to celebrate the passage of same-sex marriage during Bastille Day, France’s day of independence.

The problem with the protests is that over 60% of French people are in favor of gay marriage, according to a Guardian opinion poll, with numbers on the rise. The French far-right won’t be gaining any popularity by protesting at such beloved and national events, especially if they resort to violence and disrupt them. Hopefully French protesters can take a leaf out of those in the U.S. and just tweet or Facebook angry things about gay marriage like civilized people.

French President Calls For Calm

President Francois Hollande of France has publicly condemned the displays of homophobic violence that have occurred in the country over the recent days and weeks at an alarming rate.

“Homophobic acts, violent acts have been committed. The right to protest is recognised by our constitution and accepted by the French. But no protest must degenerate,” said President Hollande on Thursday 18th April, speaking after France’s Interior Ministry had confirmed that four people had been detained on suspicion of carrying out a vicious attack at a gay bar in Lille. The bar owner blamed the incident on the mounting “tensions” in the country over the same-sex marriage bill currently going through the French National Assembly.

There is growing concern over the levels and ferocity of an increased number of homophobic attacks and abuse in France over the last two weeks. Several anti-gay protests have turned violent in many cities across the country. A protest on Wednesday turned ugly when several thousand anti-gay protesters damaged cars, vandalised public property and attacked police officers and journalists.

Many gay activists and pro marriage equality supporters have reported threats of violence directed at them and according to gay groups monitoring the situation, reports of anti-gay and homophobic violence has gone up by a staggering and shocking 30% this year alone.

Manuel Valls, the Interior Minister is believed to have held meetings with representatives of security forces in order to “reinforce security measures surrounding protests following the excesses of the past days”. He has also verbally pledged to prevent further homophobic assaults.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has also condemned the violence and has called for calm. “These protests have a right to take place, we are in a republic. But calls for violence, calls to hate, must be condemned,” he said earlier last week.

 

French Politicians Fight Over Gay Marriage.

 

The prospect of Marriage Equality in France has certainly raised tensions in the European country over the last few weeks, including in the French National Assembly!

In surprisingly ugly scenes inside the house also exactly replicated the violence going on outside the building cantered on the issue of marriage equality. The politicians came to blows, with punches being thrown in a scuffle that lasted a number of minutes as the MPs came to the end of an incredible 25-hour debate on the same-sex marriage bill that would also give same sex couples the right to adopt.

The incident, blamed on fatigue and high emotions that accompany such a controversial subject was condemned outright by the ruling Socialist party. One minister criticized the scuffle as outrageous and the worst he’s seen in the house in 30 years.

The fever pitch tensions are set to remain until the final, and decisive vote on the same-sex marriage bill is expected to take place on Tuesday 23rd April. Should the bill pass this crucial vote, it will then go to the Constitutional Council, which will review its constitutionality, once passed by them, it will be sent over to the French President, Francois Hollande to sign it into law.

The tensions inside the assembly come after calls for calm had been made by both the French President and Prime Minister after a number of violent homophobic attacks and ambushes.

The Interior Minister Manuel Valls, warned that the movement opposed to equal marriage was being infiltrated by far-right organisations, who seek nothing but violence. Frigide Barjot, the figurehead of anti-marriage equality group Manif pour Tous, said if the French President Francois Hollande “wants blood”, and promised “He will get it”.

The police in Paris are on standby and there are expected to be large numbers of both pro and anti marriage equality protestors on the streets of the capital next week.

Catholics Pray Against Marriage Equality

Same sex marriage and gay adoptions are in the spotlight in France at the moment as the French Catholic Church is using a religious holiday to put pressure on and urge politicians to protect heterosexual traditions.

The new French President Francois Hollande has repeatedly said he wants push forward laws to allow same-sex marriage and adoption next year. Recent opinion polls suggest that the vast majority of the population are in favour of these changes and a moved towards a more equal society, France remains a traditionally Catholic country. On the Assumption day holiday on Wednesday, French bishops’ conference asked priests all over the country to read a special prayer calling on politicians to follow “their conscience” and resist requests by special interests, and stressing the importance of “the love of a father and a mother.”

According to local news agency, Sipa, many parishes ignored the prayer request and reported that many churchgoers were divided on the issue and whether the church should even get involved in politics.