France: Gay mayor receives bullets in post after giving interview about equal marriage

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The mayor of a town in eastern France has made a complaint to police after being sent bullets in the post following an interview he gave during which he discussed equal marriage and adoption.

Thierry Speitel, mayor of Sigolsheim, in the Haut-Rhin area of France, near its eastern border with Germany, gave the interview to a local paper, Derniers Nouvelles d’Alsace, and said he would probably marry his partner, and that they may adopt children.

During the interview, he also condemned homophobic attacks, and violent anti-equal marriage protests which have taken place across the country recently.

He described the incident as “odious”, and said he was “shocked” that someone would go that far. Along with the bullets, he was sent a copy of the interview scrawled across which were homophobic insults.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Claude Bartolone, also received a threatening letter containing ammunition powder, asking him to delay the vote on equal marriage.

Socialist deputies Sylviane Bulteau and Hugues Fourage also received letters from anti-equal marriage extremists, which threatened their families with kidnap, the equal marriage bill was not withdrawn.

Last Tuesday the ruling Socialist party and their allies in the lower house of the National Assembly passed the bill 331 in favour – 225 against, giving same-sex couples the legal right to marry and adopt children.

Despite the vicious backlashes, ahead of the French Parliament’s final vote on equal marriage, a couple announced their plans to wed in the southern city of Montpellier, nicknamed the French San Francisco in a ceremony which is set to prove to be symbolic.

Following the vote, riot police charged several times to attempt to clear protesters from Les Invalides, however they were forced to move down to the banks of the river Seine, where more violent clashes took place.

The final remaining step before the bill becomes law is for it to be signed by President Francois Hollande, who gave his formal approval to the bill last November.

President Hollande urged the country to move on after the divisive debate around equal marriage.

A poll published on Friday suggests that the French public may now move on from the vicious debate around equal marriage, as 67% of French people said that anti-equal marriage protests should stop.

The division is unlikely to go away immediately, however; as protests are planned for 26 May across France.