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Thursday, February 29, 2024

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France: Minister Faces Immense Pressure To Resign Over LGBTQ Comments

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More than 100 prominent French individuals have endorsed an open letter denouncing what they describe as homophobic remarks made by newly appointed minister Caroline Cayeux.

The Journal du Dimanche newspaper published the letter on Sunday. The letter questioned whether the 73-year-old minister for territorial cohesion should be allowed to continue in her post.

In 2013, Cayeux called France’s plans to legalize gay marriage and adoption a “caprice” that goes “against nature.” These comments had raised a storm.

When questioned in an interview this week if she still stood by the comments, the minister responded: “Obviously I maintain my comments. But I always said that if the law was voted for, I would respect it.”

Clarifying to broadcaster Public Senat, Cayeux said she had been unfairly shown as prejudiced. The minister added that she has “a lot of friends among those people.”

The interview created a furore among LGBTQ groups, who clamoured for Cayeux’s resignation and filed a legal complaint against her saying she publicly insulted the community.

Saying her words were “inappropriate” and that “equal rights must always be a priority of our action,” Cayeux apologised later for her comments.

What did the open letter state?

According to DW, the appeal published on Sunday was signed by members of parliament, mayors, an Olympic medalist, an ex-prime minister, as well as journalists, lawyers and members of civil society.

It called on France’s government to set a better example and work harder to uphold the values of equality. “How can we accept that a member of government … calls French citizens ‘those people’?” it said. “How can we avoid that, in her mind, they do not belong to the same category of citizens?”

Transport Minister Clement Beaune who identifies as gay, labelled Cayeux’s comments as “extremely hurtful.” Government spokesman Olivier Veran insisted that Cayeux’s comments were out of touch with the times.

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