French cabinet approves bill outlawing homophobia

June 24, 2004

PARIS — The French government on Wednesday approved a bill to outlaw homophobia, conceived in the wake of a vicious attack on a gay man who was badly burned earlier this year.

The bill, which will go before parliament next month, will make "incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence against a person on the basis of gender or sexual orientation" punishable by a year in prison and a €45,000 ($54,000) fine.

It puts sexist and homophobic remarks on the same criminal level as words encouraging racism or anti-Semitism.

At the weekly cabinet meeting, President Jacques Chirac said he hoped the law would "bring to an abrupt end these very serious acts," his spokesman said.

Justice Minister Dominique Perben said the proposed law owed much to the story of Sebastian Nouchet, who was attacked at his home in northern France in January and sprayed with petrol. "This law is in some way the Nouchet law," he said.

The bill enters the process of ratification just after the centre-right government took steps to punish a mayor – the Green party politician Noel Mamere – who earlier this month performed France's first ever gay marriage ceremony. – Sapa-AFP

Related stories
French mayor suspended for conducting gay wedding [17/06/2004]



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