A 78-year-old Parisian man shot himself in the mouth in the middle of the world-famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as a protest against gay marriage.
France legalized gay marriage earlier this month, to the great disdain of Dominique Venner, who had long worked as an anti-gay campaigner. According to witnesses, Venner calmly walked among the crowd in the Cathedral on Tuesday afternoon, headed to the front altar and then proceeded to kill himself.
Venner did not say anything before he shot himself, but did have a letter on him explaining his protest of the gay marriage legislation.
Before his death, Venner was a far-right historian and essayist, but much of his latest work was on his blog, where he denounced gay marriage and fears of Islamic invasion in France.
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"The demonstrators of May 26 [against the law allowing gay marriage in France] will be right to shout their impatience and rage. A law steeped in infamy, once voted, can always be voided,” Venner wrote on his blog Tuesday.
Venner was also a former member of the Secret Army Organization, which fought against France when the country decided to give up Algeria as a colony. He had previously been jailed back in the 1960s when the government considered him a “political undesirable.”
Though Venner did not mention why he chose the famous 850-year-old cathedral as his place of suicide, it is known that Venner was a stringent Catholic and the site is often used for demonstrations against gay marriage.