It seems that France can now claim another cultural victory over the United States: not only has the nation succeeded in driving out a cheesy and overexposed actor, Gérard Depardieu (when can we finally unload Matt Damon onto the Russians?), but the French have bettered their American republican rivals in another category: smart gays.
Yes, it’s true. The nation that gave us goat cheese, Bourbon revelry, Coco Chanel, and Isabelle Adjani (the illustrious star of Ishtar) takes the gâteau when it comes to gay politics. Whereas in the United States Cynthia Nixon was nearly banished from LGBT citadels for saying she “chose” to start dating women, and she immediately retracted her statement lest Wayne Besen and Dan Savage send an airplane banner over her home saying “You can’t pray the gay away!” or target her in a malicious “It Gets Better” campaign, in France, an entire half-dozen well-spoken, gorgeous, and unapologetically intelligent gay men have taken to the internet to explain their heartfelt opposition to gay marriage. They have put up a website called Homovox.
This is important stuff. If France can hold off the national legalization of gay marriage (which seems a difficult fight at this point), then there may be hope for the United States. This is in effect Europe’s last stand for the traditional family. What’s great about the arguments from Jean-Marc, Jean-Pier, Philippe Arino, and Xavier is their ability to think outside the stilted identity politics that plagues American sexual discourse. It may be that since France did not have the equivalent of a Fourteenth Amendment to redefine its constitutional logic, the French are less likely to fall for hyper-emotional parallels between sexual orientation and race.