Marriage Equality's Imminent Victory Spawns Protest, Violence in France

The French Senate, on April 12, approved a marriage equality bill previously passed by the National Assembly, making only small adjustments to a portion of the bill dealing with adoption rights. According to the Huffington Post, “Because [the Senate] made minor changes… the National Assembly must vote to approve the measure one more time before President François Hollande can sign it into law, which he has promised to do.”

That final vote, previously slated for May 20, will now take place on April 23. The sped-up approval process, though exciting to advocates, has likely been inciting to the crowds of anti-gay marriage demonstrators who have become more vociferously homophobic as the measure has moved closer to victory.

France 24, a news channel, reported that protests are planned between now and when the final vote occurs, and that these demonstrations could continue into late spring.

“Opponents are… planning to gather near the National Assembly every evening as soon as this Tuesday,” the channel quoted an anti-gay protest organizer as saying, “while a mass protest in Paris is scheduled for May 26 if the law is approved.”

More disturbing, however, are indications that the road to marriage equality in France has been littered with increasingly violent hate crimes. The Huffington Post reports that a French anti-homophobia organization claimed a 200-percent increase in anti-gay assaults in January and February, coming on top of what France 24 reported was a 30-percent increase in assaults in 2012 as compared to the previous year.