French gay marriage opponent kills himself at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

By Reuters Staff
May 22, 2013

(People walk past the entrance to the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris February 8, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau )

An 78-year-old French far-right activist committed suicide at the altar of the Notre Dame cathedral on Tuesday by shooting himself in the mouth, three days after a law legalizing same-sex marriage came into effect.

Police evacuated the cathedral, one of Paris’ biggest tourist draws, after Dominique Venner – a historian known for his hard-right political essays and a fierce opponent of gay marriage – shot himself, sending tourists fleeing in panic.

Venner made no declaration as he shot himself around mid-afternoon, a police source said. He carried a letter on his person, but its contents were not released to the media.

A May 21 entry on his blog page appealed to readers to join a march planned for Sunday against the Socialist government’s gay-marriage law, which came into force at the weekend.

President Francois Hollande made good on a campaign pledge by making France the 14th country to allow same-sex weddings. The country’s biggest social reform in three decades is backed by a small majority of French, surveys show.

Yet the move stirred up a storm of opposition among social conservatives and Catholics who have hosted a series of angry and often violent protests.

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One comment

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It’s a shame this man felt he had to end his own life when he realized his stance on equal rights was hateful. People should just admit their mistakes, work to do better, and move on.

Taking your own life when you realize you’ve made mistakes is not the answer.

Posted by TotalMonkey | Report as abusive