Jean-Marie Le Pen fined for linking homosexuality to paedophilia

Jean-Marie Le Pen of France's National Front

Far-right French MEP Jean-Marie Le Pen has been fined over a string of homophobic comments.

The former leader of France’s National Front was found guilty of incitement to hate by France’s criminal court on Wednesday over several remarks he made about gay people.

The comments include a homophobic jibe aimed at the surviving husband of a terror attack victim.

Jean-Marie Le Pen targeted grieving husband of terror victim

After policeman Xavier Jugele was shot dead in Paris in April 2017, Le Pen complained that his husband Etienne Cardiles was invited to address a national memorial.

Le Pen said in an online video: “I think this family trait should have been kept away from such a ceremony which would have benefited from more discretion.”

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France's National Front

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France’s National Front (FRANCK PENNANT/AFP/Getty)

In March 2016, the far-right figurehead claimed in a video that “paedophilia found its credentials […] in the exaltation of homosexuality.”

Speaking to Le Figaro In December 2016, he claimed of gay people in politics: “Homosexuals are like salt in soup: if there is not enough it is a little bland, if there is too much it is undrinkable. ”

France 24 reports that Le Pen was ordered to pay 800 euros in fines, along with 5,000 euros in damages to Etienne Cardiles, and 2,000 euros damages to LGBT+ group Mousse.

Prosecutors accused Le Pen of trying to “stir up hatred” and encourage “the banishment of homosexuals.”

Jean-Marie Le Pen still sits as an MEP

The far-right figure sits as an independent Member of the European Parliament, though he was expelled from the National Front in 2015 after falling out with its current leader, his own daughter Marine Le Pen.

Jean-Marie Le Pen was president of the National Front from 1972 to 2011, running for president on five occasions. He came second in 2002’s presidential race, making a run-off vote against Jacques Chirac where he picked up just 17.8 percent of the vote.

Jean-Marie Le Pen

Member of the European Parliament Jean-Marie Le Pen (JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty)

The party he founded has had a resurgence under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, who ran for president herself in 2017 and picked up 33.9 percent of the vote in the run-off against Emmanuel Macron.

The former leader’s overtly anti-gay views are out of step with his daughter’s approach of trying to play on fears of Islam to pick up support from the LGBT+ community.

Unofficial polling in 2017 suggested that a third of gay men voted for Marine Le Pen in the presidential election.

The party, which holds eight seats in France’s national legislature and 15 in the European Parliament. changed its name to National Rally this year to seek a break with its previous identity.

However, anti-LGBT voices—and the Le Pen family—continue to dominate the party.

Jean-Marie Le Pen’s granddaughter attacked LGBT+ families

National Rally politician Marion Maréchal, granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen and niece of Marine Le Pen, hit out at gay families in February 2018 as she vowed to “take our country back.”

The Member of the National Assembly tore into gay adoption and same-sex marriage, telling a US conservative conference: “Without nation and without family, the limits of the common good, natural law and collective morality disappears as the reign of egoism continues.

“Today, even children have become merchandise… we hear in the public debate that we have the right to order a child in a catalogue, we have the right to rent a woman’s womb, we have the right to deprive a child of a mother and father. No you don’t. A child is not a right. Is this the freedom that we want? No!

“We do not want this atomized world of individuals without gender, without mother, without father, without nation.

“We want our country back. There is a youth ready for this fight today.”