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The Law to allow Gay Marriage in France will be debated by the parliament towards the end of January 2013. If passed, the Bill will allow legal co-habitation of persons of same-sex persons plus other rights as it exists in conventional marriage. The Bill is commonly referred to, as “Marriage pour tous” [Marriage for all] and has been very controversial since its introduction shortly after the election that made Francois Hollande President of the Republic.

Last weekend, there was a huge protest in Paris against opening up marriage to persons of same-sex in France. Their popular slogan is “Un Papa Une Maman” [1 Daddy 1 Mummy]. One will wonder why this is a problem in France- a western country and one of the most progressive in the European Union.  From an African homophobic perspective: Isn’t Homosexuality from the west? Why would gay bashing exist in a popular city like Paris? How come the same protest against the freedom of homosexuals at the Nigeria house of assembly (Homophobic Africa country) also exists in France (Gay-Friendly European country)? Are there differences between France and Nigeria on the discourse of freedom for homosexuals? Oh Yes! But homophobia make them the same.

In France the co-habitation of persons of same-sex is already made legal under the provisions of PACS (this is popularly known as civil partnership). While I have not had the opportunity to get hold of the PACS provisions, (from friends) I realized that the provisions of PACS is somewhat similar to what you will get in “Marriage” expect for some “Rights” to heritance and children. No wonder the Gay movement in France is very adamant that the “Marriage pour tous” law must open up all rights a heterosexual couple has to homosexuals as well. For the Gay movement, marriage is not just about living together as husbands or wives; it includes rights to have children in such Matrimony.

The anti-Gay marriage movement is however furious about this initiative. Their argument is a bit daisy for me to understand. Some say that Gay marriage will reduce the value of what is referred to as a Family; others say that it will be contrary to the real essence of marriage. This reminds me how Marriage has been more religiously attached than the reality of wanting to co-habit with a loved one. Therefore I wonder, did marriage ever exist before that which was attended by Jesus Christ in Galilee? Were there other marriages that happened in his generation? Did he (Jesus Christ) attend other marriage ceremonies to put a seal and make them HOLY MATRIMONY?

Very interestingly, the anti-Gay marriage movement do not consider themselves to be homophobic. They claim to be tolerant of Gay people and seem not to have problem co-existing with homosexuals. Is this double standard really acceptable? Is this because it is socially unacceptable to be homophobic in France and they struggle to fit in the social norm?

I am very surprised at the struggle of homosexuals in France. Having worked in Nigeria on related issues, I am still in shock that the battle in Nigeria is not at a far distance to what is being combated in France. I was ignorant enough to think that everyone from the western world is progressive and that discussions about enabling the rights of marginalized groups won’t be so much controversial. No word would express better my surprise when I argue this issue with a French person at the same level I had argued the issue with a common Nigerian. This leaves me with the “Why would Nigerians think homosexuality is western”.  I live in this “western” country and the same horrible things that exist in my “homophobic” country happens here.

Although there exist the rule of law and you can be assured of justice of some sort. You can be assured that mature men supposedly referred to, as homosexuals won’t get paraded on the street as criminal. Homosexuality is not criminal in France and if it were I am sure they will not be paraded on the street in a degrading manner. Nonetheless I think that one cannot begin to grade homophobia. Once it is homophobia it is homophobia. This is indeed what I will call the globalization of homophobia…Il est partout (It is everywhere).

Homophobia is obviously a global issue posing threat to the existence of humans just like Climate change, Terrorism, HIV/AIDS, Violence against women among others. It should be tackled as an international issue and be combated collectively. All forms of violence against people- making them less human between consenting adult is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by any society.

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