A gay couple have said they were badly beaten up in Paris on 6 April.
Wilfred de Bruijn and his partner Olivier posted a picture of what happened after they were attacked by several men in the 19th district of Paris.
Describing it as the ‘face of homophobia’, De Bruijn said: ‘Olivier and I were badly beaten up just for walking arm in arm.
‘I woke up in an ambulance covered in blood, missing tooth and broken bones around the eye.
‘I’m home now. Very sad. Olivier takes care of me. Forbidden to work for at least 10 days.’
Speaking to French news website Yagg, Olivier said: ‘With pain medication, it does not hurt physically. But the marks of blows hurt far deeper. At home, Wilfred prefers to not look in the mirrors.’
Since he posted it yesterday on Facebook, the picture has gone viral in France and has been shared thousands of times.
On LGBT website VeryFriendly.fr, they are claiming another man called Sylvain in the 10th district of Paris was also attacked for walking with his boyfriend on the same night.
Many liberal blogs and websites are claiming recent protests for and against the ‘Marriage for All’ bill, which will legalize marriage equality and adoption for same-sex couples and is currently being discussed in the Senate, has led to these attacks.
Numerous French activists have said the atmosphere in Paris has been soured by the marriage equality debate.
Gay rights group SOS Homophobie have said they have received 60 complaints of anti-gay hatred in Paris in the last week alone.
On MediaPart’s blog, Mathieu Brancourt said the attacks ‘is the result of a serious debate that has fueled the hatred in most people’s minds.’
Brancourt said: ‘Homophobia is not new and does not stop at the likely enactment of the law opening marriage and adoption to same-sex couples.
‘But this new demonstration of brutal violence and freedom to discriminate against someone for who they are, is coming at the worst moment.’
On 10 April, there is a planned rally in the gay district of Marais aiming to protest against homophobic violence.
‘I hope not to hear the chorus of battles or promises of revenge,’ Brancourt said. ‘Last January, I held a placard during a demonstration saying “Our love is stronger than your hatred”. I refuse to see the words reversed.’
A government spokesman has condemned the recent rise of homophobia in France, saying: ‘The hatred and homophobic remarks have no place in our country and are punishable by law. The government strongly condemns these acts.
‘These outbursts are unacceptable. When the most basic civil rights of our citizens are attacked, the authority of the state is at stake.’