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Gay attack victim in France becomes cause celebre

BY THOMAS ADAMSON, ASSOCIATED PRESS

PARIS -- The shocking photo of a homophobic attack victim in Paris that went viral on social media this week and caused the French interior minister to weigh in was used as an emblem in a pro-gay rally Wednesday evening.

The image of Wilfred de Bruijn's cut and bruised face was brandished by gay groups during a demonstration of several thousand people as evidence of their claim that homophobic acts have tripled nationwide over opposition to a law legalizing gay marriage.

This week, the French senate will conclude its debate on a law legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption, which is expected to pass. It's been a rocky run since it was unveiled last November by President Francois Hollande's Socialists and split the majority-Catholic country.

But whichever way the Senate votes, the image of De Bruijn's battered face has made for a symbolic end to five months of bitterly divisive protests.

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