NICE, France — A gay man was attacked and beaten unconscious over the weekend in the latest anti-gay attack in France amid increasing tensions and daily protests leading up to a crucial government vote that would legalize same-sex marriage in France.
Raphaël Leclerc said he was punched and kicked after being jumped by three men when he and his boyfriend left a night club in the Mediterranean city of Nice at around 5 a.m. on Saturday, reported The Local.
The incident comes just two weeks after Wilfred de Bruijn was attacked and beaten in Paris while he and his boyfriend were walking arm-in-arm.
Just like De Bruijn, Leclerc posted the picture of his battered face on Facebook to try and raise awareness of homophobia.
“I left the nightclub with my boyfriend at around 5:35 a.m. on Saturday. We were not kissing and we were not holding hands,” explained the 24-year-old cabaret dancer. “A couple of minutes later there were three , who were shouting “hey gays” at us, and then they ran at us.”
Gay rights activists claim that homophobic acts have tripled nationwide over opposition to the marriage equality law.
Last week, anti-gay marriage activists in France went on the attack, firing off violent rhetoric following passage of the marriage equality bill in the French Senate.
French activist Frigide Barjot, leader of the Manif pour tous (Demo for all), France’s mainstream anti-gay marriage movement, said French President Francois Hollande “wants blood, and he will get it.”
Article continues belowOn Sunday, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to Paris boulevards to protest the bill’s expected passage this week — one protestor called marriage equality “a threat to the social fabric.”
AFP reported Monday that the speaker of France’s National Assembly received an envelope containing ammunition powder and a threatening letter calling on him to delay Tuesday’s vote on the marriage bill.
Polls have shown a narrow majority of French favor allowing such unions, though the support weakens when questions about adoption and conception of children come into play.
Legalizing same-sex marriage was one of Hollande’s campaign promises.