"God's Nutcase"France has experienced quite the political and social turnabout with the rejection of a Conservative government and the election of a Socialist one to replace the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Much has changed in France, since the election of President Francois Hollande. France is a sexually liberated country, to be sure. The libertine antics of its political and social elite hardly raises an eyebrow internally.
Although the misfortune that befell one well-placed contender for the presidency sent him off the rails when Dominique Strauss-Kahn thought he would have a little encounter to his liking with a Sofitel New York Hotel maid and it backfired to his great discomfiture. The international opprobrium that resulted was enough to convince the French who hadn't even noticed and wouldn't even notice, that they might and should.
Ségolène Royal and François Hollande at a rally for the parliamentary election, 29 May
Instead they elected a man whose long-time liberated partnership with another political figure, the one-time aspirant for president of his socialist party and mother of his four children, Segolene Royale, he left after a three-decade relationship, in favour of another 'casual' relationship with Valerie Trierweller, a glamorous journalist whose jealousy of the president's former partner ensures France is continually titillated by rumours, innuendos and accusations, one against the other.
Hell hath no fury: Ségolène Royal, bottom, summoned Francois Hollande's then secret lover Valerie Trierweiler,top , to her office and demanded she break off the affair, a new book claims
And it is in this spirit of free love and socialist openness to sexual freedom that a woman who bills herself as Frigide Barjot, in a marvellous twist of nomenclature and irony, a conservative of Catholic persuasion, convulsing the name of Bridgette Bardot, the French sex kitten, into "Frigid Nutter" (English translation of Frigide Barjot) enters the scene as leader of a campaign against President Hollande's move to authorize same-sex marriages and child-adoption.
"I have decided to put (my) notoriety at the service of a cause I believe in", she has announced in elevating her movement, La Manif Pour Tous (A Protest for All - a play on Marriage for All, title of the government's legislation), to heightened public attention, bringing conservative France face to face with left-wing France through a planned campaign and march through Paris that is anticipated to bring out hundreds of thousands of protesters.
"What we are talking about here is a new category of human beings created by a legislation that will run counter to the laws of biology. Children will no longer be equal. Some will have a mother and father. Others will have birth certificates which say they were born to Roger and Bernard or something like that." Virginie Merle, 50, known by the above sobriquet and also, according to the left-wing Liberation newspaper "God's Nutcase", is on a roll.
Her campaign against same-sex marriage results from her Catholic-inspired belief in the importance of raising children in what is considered to be traditional two-parent, opposite gender marriages. As well as her personal early-childhood experience: "I suffered when my father left my mother. Now the state is trying to organize the separation of mothers and fathers and I don't want children to go through the same thing I went through."