In April 2014 former politician Christine Boutin remarked during an interview that “homosexuality is an abomination.” In December 2015 Boutin was ordered to pay 5,000 euros in fines for her remarks. This Tuesday, the Appeals Court annulled its original sentence for “provocation of hate or of violence,” stating that, “the incriminating remarks, even if offensive, do not…call for or urge hate or violence.”
“I am happy to be cleared by the judgment of the highest French court,” she responded. “I am especially happy to note that the Appeals Court has confirmed that freedom of expression and freedom of belief still exist in our country,” she added.
Responding to the court’s decision, Etienne Deshoulières, lawyer for the Mousse association, one of the civil parties represented at the trial, expressed his “regret,” at the decision. Given the court’s use of the term “offensive,” Deshoulières judged that “if LGBT associations had acted on the grounds of injury and not on incitation of hate, Christine Boutin would be sentenced.”
“It’s over. But if someone were to repeat this tomorrow, the associations would learn from the Appeals Court’s lessons and pursue ‘injury,'” he added.
SOS Homophobia President Joël Deumier also voiced his disappointment: “We refrained from filing a complaint to avoid the Court from clearing her…the remarks remain and the person got away [with it.] It’s a disaster.”