Tags: historian | gay | marriage | law

Historian Kills Self at Notre Dame Over Gay Marriage Law

By    |   Wednesday, 22 May 2013 02:54 PM

Far-right French historian Dominique Venner committed suicide Tuesday in front of scores of tourists visiting the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in protest against a law passed to legalize same-sex marriages in France.

Venner, 78, placed a sealed letter on the cathedral's altar, put a pistol in his mouth, and shot himself, reports The Independent. His suicide came just hours after he posted an essay on his website that called for "new, spectacular and symbolic actions to shake us out of our sleep, to jolt anaesthetized minds and to reawaken memory of our origins."

Venner, an award-winning historian and essayist, was also a presenter on a Catholic traditionalist radio station.

His online essay, in addition to railing against gay marriage, also warned that the populations of France and Europe would be replaced under "Islamist control" and "Sharia law."

Notre Dame is celebrating its 850th anniversary this year, and is the most visited monument in Paris, attracting more than 13 million visitors a year. The packed church was immediately evacuated Wednesday and closed to the public for four hours after the shooting. A cathedral security guard attempted to revive Venner while he lay beside the altar, officials said.

Monsignor Patrick Jacquin, the rector of Notre Dame, said as far as he knows, Venner's suicide was the first within the structure since it was founded in the 12th century.

France's same-sex marriage law was approved last month and President François Hollande signed it into law last weekend. The law has brought right-wing, religious, conservative and middle-class protests, and a large demonstration is planned in Paris Sunday.

Venner was one of the loudest critics of the law, which protesters say is a politically-motivated attack on family and religious values and the "imposition of a new civilization."

He has written many books and tracts on extreme nationalist themes, and has won several prizes for his work as a historian. Much of his far-right work has included topics such as apologies for France's pro-Hitler regime during World War II and warnings of conspiracies to destroy Europe's civilization and the white race.

Venner was also considered an expert on hunting and firearms. In the 1960s, he joined the Organisation de l'Armée Secrète, an extreme nationalist terrorist movement that attempted several times to assassinate President Charles de Gaulle.



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Far-right French historian Dominique Venner committed suicide Tuesday in front of scores of tourists visiting the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in protest against a law passed to legalize same-sex marriages in France.
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Wednesday, 22 May 2013 02:54 PM
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