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French Government Considers Banning Same-Sex Marriage Opposition Group

French Government Considers Banning Same-Sex Marriage Opposition Group

With a major protest against same-sex marriage coming up on Sunday in Paris, France, the country's Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday that he is contemplating banning the opposition group French Spring.

Valls said in a Thursday radio interview with France Info that he is contemplating banning the group, which has modeled its name after the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt, due to recent statements made by the group in reference to the French government.

Valls said that he takes the recent comments by the activist organization as a "call to violence."

"Justice will have to act because it is intolerable that in the Republic there can be these messages of hate," Valls said, as reported by France 24. "There is no place for groups that challenge the Republic, democracy and which also attack individuals."

Valls is referencing the statement released by French Spring shortly after President Francois Hollande signed a law legalizing marriage and adoption for gay and lesbian couples four days ago.

In the statement, the organization reportedly threatened to target "the government and all its appendices, the collaborating political parties and lobbies where the ideological programs are developed and the organs which spread it."

Valls added in his Thursday interview that he has reportedly received death threats as a result of the statement issued by the group, which is considered to be far-right extremist.

Beatrice Bourges, who leads the French Spring, reportedly denied that her group was threatening violence, arguing that Valls' comments prove the country is denying democracy to its citizens.

"It means that everything that is not politically correct or conformist will be punished in our country," Bourges said on French television, according to French 24.

"I'm sad that in this country we have reached such a denial of democracy. There has never been a call to violence," she added, denying the charges.

Critics contend that country officials have recently been on high alert regarding violence after 78-year-old Dominique Venner, a French writer and historian, committed suicide at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Tuesday, reportedly in protest of the country's legalization of same-sex marriage.

According to CNN, Venner was a theorist of the French Extreme Right and, like the French Spring group, he called for the country to protest the legalization of same-sex marriage in the same way thousands took to the street in protest during the Arab Spring of 2011.

According to The Independent, French Spring published a declaration on the day of Venner's suicide which said the country was "now subject to forces which wish to reduce it to servitude. The battle is only just beginning. It will continue until victory is won."

Previous protests against same-sex marriage in the country have turned violent.

Nearly 15,000 protesters are expected to gather in Paris on Sunday to protest the president's recent approval of same-sex marriage.

Although far-right groups have made a name for themselves as radicals in the same-sex marriage debate, mainstream religious leaders have also reasonably voiced their opposition to the same-sex marriage bill.

For example, 50 French Islamic leaders signed a letter protesting the country's same-sex marriage bill in January, before it became law, and the Catholic Church attracted an estimated 340,000 protesters to the country's capital in January, resulting in one of the largest public demonstrations in France in decades, according to BBC.


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