Gay French Mayor Explains Why He's against Gay Marriage
It seems that France can now claim another cultural victory over the United States: not only has the nation succeeded in driving out a cheesy and overexposed actor, Gérard Depardieu (when can we finally unload Matt Damon onto the Russians?), but the French have bettered their American republican rivals in another category: smart gays.
Yes, it's true. The nation that gave us goat cheese, Bourbon revelry, Coco Chanel, and Isabelle Adjani (the illustrious star of Ishtar) takes the gâteau when it comes to gay politics. Whereas in the United States Cynthia Nixon was nearly banished from LGBT citadels for saying she "chose" to start dating women, and she immediately retracted her statement lest Wayne Besen and Dan Savage send an airplane banner over her home saying "You can't pray the gay away!" or target her in a malicious "It Gets Better" campaign, in France, an entire half-dozen well-spoken, gorgeous, and unapologetically intelligent gay men have taken to the internet to explain their heartfelt opposition to gay marriage. They have put up a website called Homovox.
This is important stuff. If France can hold off the national legalization of gay marriage (which seems a difficult fight at this point), then there may be hope for the United States. This is in effect Europe's last stand for the traditional family. What's great about the arguments from Jean-Marc, Jean-Pier, Philippe Arino, and Xavier is their ability to think outside the stilted identity politics that plagues American sexual discourse. It may be that since France did not have the equivalent of a Fourteenth Amendment to redefine its constitutional logic, the French are less likely to fall for hyper-emotional parallels between sexual orientation and race.
Or it may simply be something much more troubling about the difference between the United States and our Gallic neighbors across the sea: their gays are better than ours. Perhaps we need to start an free trade agreement, where we can import some of their Catholic gay mayors like Jean-Marc (translated below), and they can take Rachel Maddow, Claire Potter, and Dan Choi to brainstorm a pro-gay French military. (Maybe with nicer camouflage.)
The French gays of Homovox are luckily focused on the issue of children, which is an issue most often smuggled into the American political process behind the smokescreen of equal rights (with smoke grenades about hospital visitation rights, tax breaks, and being able to move in with their boyfriends in military housing). As the high rabbi of France wrote in a recent missive, "the equal right to have children does not exist." As the son of a lesbian, I've tried to explain the problem to gay activists over and over again, with no luck. Normally gay activists like to remain in confessional mode, where they explain to supposedly ignorant non-gay people "what it's like" to grow up gay. They can't remain in that confessional mode when discussing gay parenting, because almost none of them knows what it's like to grow up as the child of gay parents. As one of the testimonials says in Homovox, "of course I think a child should have a mother and a father; almost all the gay people I know grew up that way, and it would be against the principle of equality to deprive some children of that." Another quote from one of the videos is even better: "Very few gays got civil unions after they were legalized countrywide in the 1990s. This is a militant act designed to satisfy the 5,000 people who live in the gayborhood of Le Marais, Paris."
Below is a(n unofficial) translation of Jean-Marc's video. He's the gay mayor of a small urb in France. My apologies if my French is a little off (I learned the language in a French-speaking town in Maine, close to Québec, where I lived briefly as a teen, so I'm a bit loopy in French.)
I've been living with a [guy] for 20 years. As well, I'm mayor of my village, here in Bergueil[.] ... Speaking of the planned law [for gay marriage], I have an unusual position. My view isn't being heard in the media.
What to say about the LGBT movement?
The LGBT movement that speaks out in the media...nobody voted for them. No homosexual voted them in. They don't speak for me. They don't speak in place of me.
The reasons for your opposition?
As a society we should not encouraging this. It's not biologically natural. We [gays] do not have the fertility, in the sense of making a baby. We have plenty of other forms of fertility. Artistic, for example, and other forms of fertility. In my case, I feel I've connected with my village, and I've reinvigorated a village that was dying, fading. I know how to create ties within my community. In summary, the law I advise would be whatever's best for the child. One must favor what is best for the child. Nobody can deny, I believe, that it's best for a child to have a mother and a father who love each other as best they can.
Robert Oscar Lopez has three works of fiction coming out in 2013. The first is Johnson Park, available in March.