In France’s presidential race this week, incumbent Emmanuel Macron will confront far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, and the existence of LGBTQ freedoms seems to be on the line. Countless French people are experiencing déjà vu as the final election round approaches on Sunday (April 24). Macron, from the centrist La République En Marche party, and far-right Rassemblement National party leader Le Pen are both on the ticket in the second round of the presidential election. Revisiting a decision the French people took back in 2017.

At the beginning of this month, the two contenders progressed to the runoff election, with Macron ahead by 4.7 percent of the votes. During their final round of campaigning, none of the candidates made any mention of LGBT+ issues. Nonetheless, it is critical for LGBT+ individuals and campaigning movements to participate in the election process. Several LGBTQ activists, while talking to UK-based news organization PinkNews, stated that making sure Marine Le Pen doesn’t really grab the keys to the Elysée Palace is clearly too crucial not to vote.

According to Gatipon Matthieu, the 38-year-old spokesman for the French advocacy organization Inter-LGBT, a candidate with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán living in the Élysée Palace may jeopardize the nation’s progress. Marine Le Pen’s harsh rhetoric against immigrants, wokeism, and favorance of ultranationalist attitude poses a danger to LGBTQ rights, despite her planned measures to moderate her brand, notably no longer promising to abolish marriage equality.

53-year-old Le Pen is one of the country’s most vehemently anti-LGBTQ leaders. She has spoken out against marriage equality, same-sex adoption, and same-sex surrogacy, amongst many other issues concerning the LGBTQ community. Accusations of homophobia, racism, and antisemitism have long hounded the Rassemblement National, which was formerly a marginal organization. Its creator, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has classified homosexuality as both a biological aberration and a “personal choice,” and has stated that “pedophilia” has “origins in the appreciation of homosexuality.”

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