‘These people’: French minister’s LGBTQ remarks spark anger

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PARIS — Pressure is mounting for a French government minister to quit over comments stigmatizing homosexuality and LGBTQ people in the latest challenge to President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership.

Caroline Cayeux’s comments have hurt and angered many – including her peers – and sparked a wider discussion about persistent discriminatory attitudes by those in power.

More than 100 prominent figures published an appeal in the Journal du dimanche newspaper on Sunday questioning why she is still in government. Signatories included members of parliament, senior officials, an Olympic medalist, doctors, artists, an ex-prime minister, a former top Macron adviser, and others from Macron’s centrist political camp.

Cayeux was asked in an interview this week about her opposition to France’s 2013 law allowing same-sex marriage and adoption, commenting at the time that they were “against nature”. Speaking to Public Senate on Tuesday, she said she was being misrepresented as biased.

“I stand by my statements. I’ve always said that if the law was put to a vote, I would apply it,” she said. “Among all of these people, I have many friends and I am the target of an unfair trial. That upsets me.”

The comments sent shockwaves and calls for his resignation among LGBTQ people and those fighting discrimination and abuse. She was charged with public insult.

Cayeux then tweeted her regrets, saying her words were “inappropriate,” and sent a letter to anti-discrimination groups to apologize. She told Le Parisien newspaper that the comments “do not reflect my views at all”.

Many question the sincerity of their change of heart, saying the damage is done.

“How can we believe that the government will respect the equality of all, commit to fighting discrimination and guarantee gender freedom?” urges an online petition by LGBTQ groups demanding the resignation of Cayeux and two other members of the government, who opposed the gay marriage law. The petition calls them “speakers for hate and rejection”.

But their bosses appear to be sticking with Cayeux. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Friday said Cayeux’s remarks were “clumsy” but welcomed her apology and said Cayeux will be “vigilant” to support the fight against LGBTQ discrimination.

The issue has divided the government at a time when Macron is politically weakened after losing his majority in parliament.

Transport Minister Clément Beaune, who is gay, called Cayeux’s comments “extremely hurtful”. Government spokesman Olivier Veran described them as outdated.

In the appeal published on Sunday, the signatories called on the government to set a better example and defend French values ​​of equality.

They celebrated “these people” to which Cayeux was referring, noting that LGBTQ soldiers were among those marching in Paris’ Bastille Day parade on Thursday, and LGBTQ people in local and national government and work with the French security forces.

“We are proud of all these people who, by their dignified and discreet behavior, know better than they how to serve the Republic,” she concluded.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/those-people-french-ministers-lgbtq-remarks-spark-anger/2022/07/17/48b3f9d6-05bc-11ed-80b6-43f2bfcc6662_story.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_world ‘These people’: French minister’s LGBTQ remarks spark anger

Dustin Huang

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