PARIS ( Associated Press) — Pressure mounted on a French government minister on Sunday to resign over comments that stigmatized homosexuality and LGBTQ people in a new challenge to President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership.
Caroline Keaux’s comments have upset many people – including her colleagues – and sparked a wider debate about the persistently discriminatory attitudes by those in power.
More than 100 prominent figures published a statement in the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday questioning why she remained in government. Signatories included members of parliament, senior officials, an Olympic medalist, doctors, artists, a former prime minister, Macron’s former senior adviser and other politicians.
The controversy arose as regional relations minister Keux was questioned during an interview this week about opposition to a 2013 law that authorizes same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, and commented That they were “against nature.”
“I stand by my comments. I always said that if there is a vote on the law, I will implement it. I have many friends among all those people and an unfair trial is being conducted on me. It bothers me, ” They said.
The comments led to calls for his resignation and a legal complaint was filed against him for public humiliation.
Keux later tweeted his regret, saying his words were “inappropriate” and sent a letter apologizing to anti-discrimination groups. He told Le Parisien newspaper that the comments “do not reflect my views at all.”
Many question the sincerity of his change of heart, saying the damage has already been done.
“How can we trust that the government will respect equality among all, commit to fighting discrimination and guaranteeing gender freedom?” An online petition from LGBTQ groups has called for the resignations of Keux and two other members of the government. Those who opposed it – Sex marriage law. The petition calls him a “spokesperson of hate and disapproval”.
The issue has divided the government at a time when Macron has weakened after losing a majority in parliament.
Transport Minister Clement Beain, who is gay, called Keux’s comments “extremely hurtful”. Government spokesman Olivier Veran called him anachronistic.