September 22, 2014 at 12:26 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Nicolas Sarkozy: France same-sex marriage law ‘humiliating families’

Nicolas Sarkozy, gay news, Washington Blade

Nicolas Sarkozy (Photo by א, courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday criticized his country’s same-sex marriage law during a prime-time interview.

Sarkozy told Laurent Delahousse of France 2 that he “detested” the way he feels his successor, François Hollande, and his Socialist government “forced” the same-sex marriage bill into law in 2013 as the Guardian reported. The thrice-married Sarkozy said he feels the statute is “humiliating families and humiliating people who love the family.”

Sarkozy spoke to France 2 nearly 16 months after the country’s same-sex marriage law took effect. The interview also coincided with his announcement that he will run to become the head the Union for a Popular Movement, the opposition center-right party he once led, in upcoming elections.

Hundreds of thousands of people opposed to nuptials for gays and lesbians took part in protests in Paris and other French cities as lawmakers considered the measure and after it took effect. Ludovine de la Rochère, president of La Manif Pour Tous, a group that opposes France’s same-sex marriage law, is among those who spoke at a National Organization for Marriage rally at the U.S. Capitol in June.

“We will never surrender,” said Rochère during the event.

Charles Roncier, a Paris-based gay journalist who is the associate editor-in-chief of the website, told the Washington Blade on Monday he feels Sarkozy is courting French conservatives ahead of a potential 2017 run against Hollande, who remains highly unpopular because of his handling of the country’s economy.

“He’s trying to come back and he’s ready to do anything for it,” said Roncier. “He can’t be re-elected without the French ‘tea party’ (La Manif Pour Tous) so he gave them something to chew on.”

Sarkozy lost to Hollande during the second round of voting in France’s 2012 presidential election.

Only 18 percent of respondents who took part in an April poll the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP in French) conducted on behalf of the Sunday Journal, a French newspaper, said they approve of Hollande. This figure compares to the 61 percent approval rating he had when he succeeded Sarkozy in May 2012.

Sarkozy has faced several legal investigations since leaving office, including charges that he allegedly took illegal campaign funds from former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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