Jordan Bardella: where does Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National protégé stand on LGBTQ+ rights?

In 2022, a young man named Jordan Bardella (now 28) was selected as the new leader of France’s far-right, anti-LGBTQ+ party the Rassemblement National (RN), formerly Front National – replacing Marine Le Pen.

The RN made headlines this weekend after they trounced French president Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance in the EU elections. The RN – which translates as “National Rally” – received 31.5 per cent of the vote in the elections, compared with just 14.5 per cent for the French president’s centrist alliance.

In a shock reaction to the loss, Macron called a snap election: a very high-risk move for the president, as he lost his parliamentary majority after winning a second term as president in 2022. This election could force to appoint a prime minister from another party, even, potentially, the far-right Rassemblement National.

This would be extremely bad news for LGBTQ+ people as well as other minorities in France.

The Rassemblement National, once a fringe group, has long been dogged by allegations of homophobia, racism and antisemitism. Its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has described being gay as a biological anomaly as well as a “personal choice” and said “paedophilia” has its “roots … in the admiration of homosexuality”.

But what do we know about Jordan Bardella, and his personal stance on LGBTQ+ rights? Let’s take a look.

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Jordan Bardella’s statements on the LGBTQ+ community

Bardella became a member of what was then the Front National (FN) in 2012, aged just 16. He reportedly said that he joined “more for Marine Le Pen than for the National Front.” He was part of Marine Le Pen’s campaign team in the 2017 presidential election.

He’s been described as “the puppet of Marine Le Pen” by Libération.

In December 2018, Bardella expressed personal opposition to same-sex marriage on the grounds that it will open the door to surrogacy or medically assisted reproduction, something that that Marine Le Pen is also deeply against.

Le Pen, 55, has opposed, among other things, marriage equality, same-sex adoption and same-sex surrogacy. In 2017, Le Pen quietly confirmed plans to end same-sex marriage in the country, burying the policy announcement in a list of 144 election pledges.

In the pledge, which was number 87 in the document, Le Pen promised to create an “improved” form of civil unions in the country to “replace” the equal marriage law passed in 2013.

However, in a reversal of that pledge, Jordan Bardella has stated he will not campaign to abolish same-sex marriage as leader of the National Rally, arguing that the debate on the matter is closed and it is part of French law. He added that there are more pressing issues facing the country.

That may be the only glimmer of “good news” when it comes to Bardella’s LGBTQ+ views, as he is sticking to the RN’s hard-line stance on same-sex adoption and surrogacy, known in France as ‘gestation pour autrui (GPA)’.

Appearing on televised French debate contest Le Grand Oral in April 2024, he said: “We must be the guardians of the boundaries. I am philosophically and politically opposed to (surrogacy), because I am opposed to the commodification of the body, to the commodification of women’s bellies.”

In 2019, Bardella also publicly came out against in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) for lesbian couples, saying: “”There is no right to having children. Children have a right to have a father and a mother and this law creates children without fathers.”

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