Is a very bad news ahead for French LGBT people?

VP-elect Pence is not very LGBT friendly. François Fillon, the likely centre-right candidate for the 2017 Presidential election in France isn’t LGBT friendly either.

In 23 April and 7 May 2017, France will elect its next President. Yesterday, the first round of the center right party Les Républicains (LR, The Republicans) put François Fillon ahead with a significant margin:

A second round will take place next Sunday with only the two candidates with the best score: François Fillon and Alain Juppé. All the others candidates are out of the game (including Nicolas Sarkozy, the former President). Considering his advance on Alain Juppé, François Fillon will very likely win the second round – and thus be the candidate of the center right 1.

Less than two weeks ago, François Fillon was in third position in virtually all the polls, around 10%. His success is very spectacular.

But what’s wrong with him?

As Mike Pence in the U.S., François Fillon represents a socially conservative right with a strong religious background 2. In 2013, the (left) government allowed gay people to get married with the Le mariage pour tous law (“Wedding for everyone”). Huge demonstrations followed, organised by a movement called La Manif pour tous (“Demonstration for everyone”) rooted in very conservative Christians churches and extreme-right movements (like Civitas). Many bigotry was heard at this time, and some leaders from the right took advantage of these demonstrations. François Fillon was one of them.

In particular, French law provides that any married couples can adopt children. It means that after gay wedding was made legal, married gay parents were able adopt children too. This is something François Fillon promised to ban, continuing the fight started by La Manif pour tous. He’s the only major candidate in the right to defend such a position.

Will it lead to a bad period for LGBT people in France? It’s possible, but not obvious. As in the U.S. with Mike Pence and Donald Trump, there’s a slightly subtle and somehow complicated (and also unpredictable) politic game at play. For instance, if François Fillon wants to have better chances to win the Presidential election he’ll have to defend more centrist views – and why not stoping to defend the adoption ban? His potentiel centrists partners in a large parliamentary coalition 3 may strongly oppose this kind of views (as the centrists are both very secular and very liberal on social issues).

And more generally, pledges from politicians aren’t the most credible words. It’s true for Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the U.S., but it’s also true for François Fillon in France. We’ll see.

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