Last night we were watching 'Le Grand Journal' this show on the French news channel Canal Plus, which is one of my favourite news channels. They are open, sarcastic, funny, very daring and unapologetically critical of French politics and society.
For those who understand French and are interested in the marriage for same sex couples movement happening in France must watch link HERE
Last night on this show one of their invitees was the Mayor of the 4th Arrondissement of Paris - Christophe Girard. Christophe Girard is gay and everybody knows it and I imagine that this is brilliant for so many young gay people in France to have a role - model who is openly homosexual, successful and is a representative (an important one at that) of the government (and he is not the only one). In this show Girard talks about how in France being gay for his generation was not particularly difficult or stigmatising. Youngsters could tell their parents, friends and teachers they were gay openly and there was not much homophobic violence in France.
Now, if you have been following the Marriage equality debate in France you'll know there is quite a verbal opposition to this marriage equality bill which has thankfully been passed despite pretty violent demonstrations opposing it, despite threatening letters to the speaker of the National Assembly - Claude Bartolone.
|Marriage Equality movement - Courtesy www.dailykos.com|
Christophe Girard talking on Le grand Journal about these anti-marriage equality demonstrators which include politicians of the UMP party, talks about how this is a step back for sexual equality in France. He expresses how youngsters are going to once again be scared of coming out to their family and friends. During this debate, a gay bar was vandalized by extremists, homosexual persons have been brutally harassed on the street. This kind of targeting of homosexuals and open display of homophobia was uncommon in France before manifestations opposing equal marriage rights came to the streets of France.
But one thing Christophe Girard points out that I think is an important lesson for India to learn from is that the laws favour equality, the laws favour the rights of homosexual persons in France and this is a loud and clear message to anti marriage equality voices and to homosexual persons - the majority of the parliament wants marriage equality, the majority of the parliament wants human rights for all irrespective of their sexuality, the law protects homosexual persons, the police will protect them. When the message is clear everybody gets it. And NO they are not demanding death penalty for offenders since they have done away with death penalty! They are demonstrating human rights for all and equality.
This is the message a government is supposed to give! The government is supposed to take a stand not be chickened out by opposition parties and manifestations. The government is supposed to stand up to protect human rights for all. What a distant dream this seems for India?!?!