France: Watchdog reports 78 percent rise in anti-gay attacks

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France’s hate crime watchdog has reported a surge in anti-gay attacks over the past year, following the introduction of same-sex marriage.

Accordong to SOS Homophobie, an LGBT group which helps people who have been the victim of hate crimes, there was a sharp rise anti-gay abuse in 2013.

A physical anti-gay attack was reported every two days, a rise of 54 percent from the previous year, and attacks on the whole rose by 78 percent.

The charity also revealed that the number of distress calls to its helpline had increased by a quarter, from 1,977 to 3,500.

The report reads: “In the last twenty years the number of reports of incidents [of homophobia] received by our association have not stopped growing, but in 2013 they exploded.”

Hate crime figures and statistics are not released by the French government, and so SOS Homophobie’s annual report is one of the only public ways to track anti-gay crimes.

It is thought that the rise in anti-gay crime could be linked to President Francois Hollande’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage in May, sparking huge protests from religious groups across the country.

Around 7,000 same-sex couples married in 2013, after the law came in.

The group’s spokesperson, Gregory Premon, told The Local: “There’s no doubt the rise in homophobic acts was linked to the context of the opposition against gay marriage

“Homophobic words and statements became trivialised during this period and helped legitimize insults and homophobic violence.”