Mayor Thierry Speitel of Sigolsheim, a small villate in north east France, received a veiled threat that undermines the claims that opposition to marriage equality in France would be peaceful. Speitel received a copy of an article with two bullets taped over it and homophobic slurs written on it.
Speitel was interviewed for a daily newspaper and he spoke openly about his relationship with his same-sex partner. The threat to Speitel was found after the town clerk opened the letter. Speitel reported the incident to the police.
He has also refused to stay quiet about it saying “I am not a dog. I refuse to close my mouth when someone takes aim at me.” The post office has only been able to determine the region from where the letter came, but not much more than that.
Mayor Speitel is not the only French politician to receive anti-gay threats. Ahead of the vote on marriage equality, the head of the National Assembly received a death threat along with gunpowder.
Speitel stated “I do not understand the fear of each other. We are not subhuman. Nothing was taken from anyone. We just gave the same rights to everyone.”
The threats have backfired, for the most part. Speitel has received a lot of support including from Fabienne Keller, a senator from a nearby region, and a Facebook group has been created in response to the “unacceptable” incident of homophobia.
During the lead up to the vote on the marriage equality bill, the rhetoric got more and more heated, including some calls for violence and revolution. These threats of violence occurred despite claims that the movement would eschew violence. In the weeks leading up to the vote, there was an increase in the number of homophobic attacks.