France: Far right activist died by suicide in Notre Dame following legalisation of equal marriage

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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been evacuated, after a former far-right activist died by suicide by shooting himself in the head, after writing a blog post slamming France’s recently passed equal marriage bill.

Dominique Venner, a famous French historian, wrote the post on his blog on 21 May, before died by suicide today by shooting himself dead, in the mouth, in front of Notre Dame Cathedral’s main altar.

In the blog post he spoke of respect for women and Islam, and said: “An infamous law, once passed, can always be repealed.”

In previous posts, he also asked “Why [equal marriage is a] unique phenomenon in Europe?”, and noted a civil war, and its bloody and violent end, linking it to the protests over equal marriage.

Following months of, sometimes violent, protests, and a substantial rise in homophobic attacks, on Friday French President Hollande signed the law, making France the fourteenth country in the world to allow equal marriage.

Marriage equality opponents had hoped that challenging the bill before the Constitutional Council would scupper the bill after months of debate and protest.

However, on Friday, the Council declared: “The law allowing same-sex marriage conforms with the constitution.”

The first same-sex wedding is to take place in Montpellier, which is known as the “French San Francisco”, because of its large gay community, on 29 May. 

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