The Law Can’t Make A Man Love Me, But It Can Stop Him Lynching Me, says French Gay Groom

“We want your rights, not your opinions” Paris 2013 pic Denis Bocquet

As France celebrates the first same sex wedding, I wonder, what will the homophobes do next?

The marriage coincides neatly with the visit to Melbourne of  Gene Robinson. He will be the keynote speaker at “Straight Talk about Gay Marriage”, an open event at The Edge @Fed Square in Melbourne tonight.

GeneRobinson_Email_Banner_v4When Robinson was enthroned as the first out gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican communion, he wore a bulletproof vest.

Before Mayor Hélène Mandroux conducted France’s first same sex wedding Wednesday, she received phone-threats advising her to get “bodyguards”.

Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau were married in Montpellier (‘the gay capital’ of France) ‘amid tight security’, as the saying goes.

Moments before the grooms arrived, four or five anti gay-marriage demonstrators had tried to enter the town-hall grounds from the back, letting off a gas cannister and fire-crackers. Police frisked and searched everyone arriving at the ceremony after an anonymous phone-call to the town hall making threats. [Guardian]

The ceremony came after same-sex marriage was finally signed into law by President Hollande Friday. A law against which protestors continue to rage on Sunday, when 293 were arrested at a 150,00 strong anti-gay march in Paris, heavily promoted by the church.

These homophobes are a violent lot, it seems, disinclined to accept defeat graciously. One of the grooms remarked on it.

Mr Autin, the regional Lesbian and Gay Pride president, said this first marriage proved that “love has triumphed over a part of hatred”. Referring to a 30 per cent rise in homophobic attacks in recent months, he quoted Martin Luther King by saying: “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me.”

What will the homophobes do now? Same-sex marriage is now the law in France. Their appeal to the Constitutional court failed. They have no further legal avenue to oppose the law, except to try to get enough supporters elected to repeal it. Which will take years.

The fears that someone would assassinate Bishop Robinson have faded. Although still contentious, a lot of the heat has gone out of the opposition to his enthronement. But that was America, where few issues stay hot for much longer than the average marketing campaign. In France, they’re still fighting La Revolution.

Holding his husband’s hand after the ceremony, Vincent Autin said:

“I only have one fear about this marriage, that our lives won’t be long enough.”

I hope he’s wrong.


About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)