French Presidential hopeful slams ‘vile homophobic’ gay smears

French Presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron has attacked “homophobic” accusations that he is secretly gay and vowed to be a “champion” for LGBT rights, in an interview with France’s main gay magazine.

Centrist candidate Macron is currently the frontrunner in the French Presidential race, facing stiff opposition from anti-gay marriage far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

A Russian government-controlled outlet published smears aimed at Macron earlier this month, reporting a “persistent rumour that [Macron] is secretly gay and living a ‘double life'”, and also accusing him of being in the pocket of a “very wealthy gay lobby”.

The politician, who has been married to his former school teacher Brigitte Trogneux since 2007, addressed the claim in an interview with newly-relaunched French gay mag Têtu.

In the interview he said: “Two things are vile behind the implication: to say that it is not possible for a man living with an older woman to be anything other than a homosexual or a hidden gigolo is misogynous. And it’s also homophobia.

“If I had been a homosexual, I would say it and I would live it.”

Le Pen recently pledged to scrap same-sex marriage in France – but far more media attention has been devoted to Macron, who does not want to alter the current law, criticising the way equal marriage was implemented.

Macron told the magazine that he would “protect” equal marriage unlike Le Pen, and that LGBT people “will always find in me a champion”.

However the Presidential candidate defended his claim that the issue had led to deep political fractures in France, with the far-right leading protests against the law.

He explained: “In my eyes, the equal marriage law was vital and necessary. It is an achievement that I will defend.

“However… the debate divided French society. Big questions of society need to be debated calmly, and not weaponised for political parties to turn one against another.”

He added that “some have still not understood that sexual orientation is neither a choice nor a luxury” and that he would aim to build a stronger base of support for LGBT people.