Elio Di Rupo, former prime minister now president of the French-speaking socialist party PS, has threatened to remove a member of his party for the lists for the municipal elections in November, after alleged homophobic remarks. The interchange took place in the council of Ans, in Liege province, where Thomas Cialone, head councillor, accused a PS member Henry Huygen, councillor for equal opportunities, of making a statement that “relations between men are contrary to nature”. Councillor Cialone is himself an out homosexual.
“In the first instance, I decided not to make a complaint, but then I thought that those sort of words, coming from a political personality in charge of equal opportunities and a future candidate, are simply scandalous,” Cialone told news agency Belga. “It’s an attack on homosexuals the world over, and some people do suffer from such public statements.”
The consequences for Huygen could be severe. “If the statements and attitudes referred to turn out to be accurate, they are in opposition to socialist values of equality, fraternity, liberty and justice,” sid Di Rupo, who is himself a gay man. “The PS is the party that fights for freedom and individual rights. It is unacceptable for an elected socialist official, not to mention a councillor in charge of equal opportunities, to wipe his feet on our basic values. Such a person cannot be allowed to represent the PS at any level.
And he called on the party’s federation for Liege to examine the matter quickly to determine whether Huygen can be allowed to remain on the party list for the elections. Huygen, meanwhile, denies the allegations.