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Anti-gay hate crimes rise sharply in France

Homophobic hate crimes peak in the run-up to the introduction of same-sex marriage in France
Wilfred du Bruijin and Raphaël Leclerc were badly beaten in the wake of protests for and against same-sex marriage in France.

Assaults on the LGBT community and incidents of homophobic hate speech have both risen sharply in France over the last year.

The number of calls to SOS Homophobie’s helpline were up by 27% on the previous year.

Homophobic hate crime spiked last year in the run-up to the French parliament's approval of a Bill allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

Incidents doubled in October and November when compared with the previous year, and tripled in December.

SOS Homophobie’s head, Elisabeth Ronzier, told The Local the last few months of 2012 and the start of this year were ‘intense’, with hate speech rising sharply especially on the Internet.

The issue of same-sex marriage has sharply divided France, with huge street protests both for and against same-sex marriage.

The anti-gay marriage movement is being blamed for several high profile homophobic attacks in recent months.

Wilfred de Bruijn was beaten in Paris in April (shown left), who was called the 'face of homophobia' and Raphaël Leclerc (shown right), who was punched, kicked and jumped on by three men when he and his boyfriend left a club in the city of Nice.

French president Francois Hollande has condemned the attacks, saying anti-gay violence will be punished.

‘I cannot accept homophobic acts and violence against property in the midst of protests, or any defiance of law enforcement officials,’ he said. 

The SOS Homophobie statistics are the only source of information on homophobic hate crime in France because there are no corresponding figures released from the Interior or Justice Ministries.

France is one of the latest countries to pass marriage equality, but will only sign it into law by Hollande once the Constitutional Court has ruled on an appeal.

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