As lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates across France celebrated the country's decision to legalize gay marriage Tuesday, a homophobic backlash found an outlet on social media platforms.
Beginning in the evening, the hashtags #MortAuxGay ("death to gays") and #ilfauttuerleshomosexuels ("we must kill all gays") began showing up on Twitter.
According to a Twitter Trending Topics page, #MortAuxGay was a trending term in France on Tuesday. AmericaBlog also took a screenshot of Twitter's trending terms list.
As the term gained notoriety, many French users took to Twitter to criticize their homophobic countrymen, but initially, the hashtag was used to convey anti-gay sentiment.
— L'ŒIL DE MOSCOU (@femmeducrepuscl) April 23, 2013
Pour le bien de notre société #MortAuxGay
— La Naissance du Mal (@PefraDeSomation) April 23, 2013
("For the benefit of our society")
#MortAuxGay la onte des hommes !!!!
— moômow septhuiit (@momowsepthuiit) April 23, 2013
("The shame of man")
Moi je dis non au mariage gay ! #MortAuxGay
— ⓃⒾⓉⓇⓄ ✅ 3.1 ™ (@ArchiSuceMoi) April 23, 2013
("I say no to gay marriage")
The debate over gay marriage has rocked France over the past few months, with massive -- and sometimes violent -- protests occurring in the streets.
Indeed, Tuesday night riot police battled with anti-gay protesters who attacked photographers and journalists, according to The Independent. There have also been reports of anti-same sex marriage protesters using human shields and using the fascist salute in clashes with police.
The Advocate notes that the country has seen an increase in anti-gay attacks throughout the past few weeks.
In October, French Twitter users used the hashtag #UnBonJuif, which translates to "#AGoodJew," to disseminate a variety of anti-Semitic tweets. The Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF) is currently suing Twitter for $50 million in damages relating to the tweets.