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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Christine Boutin, "Homosexuality is an abomination"

No prizes for guessing which particular ex-minister came up with that delightful sentiment.

None other than Christine Boutin, housing minister for two years in François Fillon's first two governments under Nicolas Sarkozy.

The founder and, until last year leader, of the  Parti chrétien-démocrate (Christian Democratic Party, PCD) is well known for her tolerance and understanding of all things gay.

An "outraged" Christine Boutin refuses to answer questions about being married to her first cousin (screenshot LCP May 2013)

The now 70-year-old made her name on the national political stage during the parliamentary debate in 1998 when the government of the day, under Socialist party (PS) prime minister Lionel Jospin, introduced legislation to allow civil union between same-sex or opposite-sex couples; the  pacte civil de solidarité (civil solidarity pact) or PACS.

Boutin was vehemently opposed, most famously giving a five-hour speech during which she said (among many other things) that the legislation was unacceptable because it would  (paraphrasing) "put homosexuality and heterosexuality on the same, level, leading to the demise of society and seriously jeopardising the education of children."

Fast forward 15 years and Boutin was back on her soapbox, spouting her family values, predicting "civil war", the end of (French) society and marching at the front of the "Mariage pour tous" demonstrations against legislation to allow marriage between couples of the same sex.

She was in her element once again, insisting she was not a homophobe while also talking about (shortly after the legislation passed) what appeared to her to be "an invasion of gays".

So the editors of the quarterly political magazine Charles must have known Boutin would be good for a quote or two when they invited her to answer questions about her "vision of sexuality and morals" (and her views on Dominique Strauss-Kahn) in their most recent issue.

That's when she seized the opportunity to make, what she sees, as an important distinction between a homosexual or lesbian and the sexual act.

"I have never condemned homosexuals," she said. "Homosexuality is an abomination. But not the person," she continued.

"Sin is never acceptable, but the sinner is always forgiven."

Yes, Boutin at her "best" - and too much even for the leader of the centre-right Union pour un mouvement populaire (Union for a Popular Movement, UMP) and the man she had backed in the battle to win that position in 2012, Jean-François Copé.

He turned to Twitter to give his reaction to Boutin's views, calling them, "intolerable, unacceptable and unforgivable."

Although Boutin no longer holds elected national office in France, you can expect to hear more from her during the upcoming campaign for the European parliamentary elections.

She has launched the list "Force vie" with candidates (including herself) offering an anti-system alternative to the established parties, which for Boutin includes the PS, UMP and the Front National.

Watch out Strasbourg!

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