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Gay French mayor sent bullets after interview
Bullets sent to gay French mayor Thierry Speitel. Photo Richard Elzey

Gay French mayor sent bullets after interview

Published: 03 May 2013 08:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 May 2013 08:26 GMT+02:00

A gay mayor in France has become the latest politician to be sent death threats as the row over gay marriage again revealed a more sinister side. A poll published on Friday revealed a majority of French people believe it is time to move on.

Thierry Speitel, mayor of the town of Sigolsheim in the Haut-Rhin area of eastern France lodged a complaint with police after he was sent bullets through the post this week.

Speitel, who is gay himself, said he was “shocked” by the incident and described the act as “odious”.

The threat comes after Speitel gave a recent interview to the local newspaper Derniers Nouvelles d’Alsace in which he talked about the probability he would marry his partner and the prospect of them adopting children.

He also slammed the homophobic incidents that have taken place in France over recent months, that have been blamed on the poisonous atmosphere created by some of the more extreme opponents of gay marriage.

Along with the bullets, Speitel, a practicing Catholic, was sent a copy of his newspaper interview, which contained scrawled handwritten homophobic insults.

He is not the only elected official to have received threats in recent month.

On April 22nd, on the eve of the decisive vote on the gay marriage bill in the National Assembly, Claude Bartolone, the Socialist president of France’s lower house received a threatening letter containing gunpowder.

It came after Socialist deputies Sylviane Bulteau and Hugues Fourage were sent letters from anti-gay marriage extremists, threatening to kidnap and kill them or their loved ones, if the gay marriage bill is not withdrawn.

The divisive gay marriage debate has dominated the headlines in France over recent months, as the anti "Manif Pour Tous" movement, along with the Catholic Church and France’s opposition UMP party have mobilized hundreds of thousands to rally against the law.

But an opinion poll published on Friday suggests the French public are finally ready to move on.

The survey, carried out by polling agency IFOP, revealed 67 percent of French people believe the anti-gay marriage protests should stop.

However the furore is unlikely to die down just yet with another nationwide protest planned for May 26th.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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