Accepted paper:

The ambiguous morality of the far-right on homosexuality

Authors:

Fabio Bolzonar (Fudan University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper compare, discusses, and uncovers the reasons for the changing positions on homosexuality taken by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the Front National (FN) over the past decade.

Paper long abstract:

The promotion of homosexual rights has generally been a policy aim of left-wing groups while far-right movements have tended to defend traditional family values and have sometimes expressed homophobic views. However, in the past decade several European far-right parties have changed their political positions on homosexuality by showing more tolerant attitudes towards gay people, welcoming their membership, and appointing gay people to senior party positions. This paper compares the changing positions on homosexual issues taken by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the Front National (FN) over the past decade. After discussing the development of the political discourse on homosexuality of the two parties as presented in their official statements and public speeches, the paper uncovers the reasons for the transformation of their stances on homosexuality. The paper claims that UKIP and the FN followed different trajectories in changing their stances. Although UKIP has given great public emphasis to the evolution of its position the party still remains strongly attached to conservative Christian morality. The FN under the leadership of Marine Le Pen is attempting to distance itself from moral conservatism in an informal way and to a greater extent than UKIP did even though several of the FN's leaders are still committed to defending conservative moral principles. The paper argues that in spite of these differences, UKIP and the FN share a common attitude consisting of rejecting full equal rights for homosexual people and they tend to use their greater openness on homosexuality to strengthen their nationalistic discourse.

panel P022
Gender, far-right, and political radicalization