• Marine Le Pen (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
"For me there are more pressing issues like the economy, the national debt and unemployment."
Sam Carroll

21 Apr 2017 - 2:27 PM  UPDATED 21 Apr 2017 - 2:27 PM

An increasing fear of Muslim immigrants within France’s LGBTIQ community has led to a surprisingly large amount support for National Front President Marine Le Pen in the lead-up to the 2017 election. 

Despite her pledge to repeal Law 2013-404 - that grants same-sex couples the right to marry - and replace it with a new “improved” form of civil unions, current reports suggest that anywhere between 20 to 40% of gay voters are expected to vote for the conservative candidate on April 23. 

Provided no candidate wins more than 50% of the votes, the final run-off election will be held on May 7.

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Le Pen is going up against centre-right Francois Fillon, Jean-Luc Melenchon of the Left Party, Benoit Hamon of the Socialist Party and Emmanuel Macron of the social liberal En Marche! Party.

The most recent polls have Macron as the frontrunner in the first round, winning 23.6% of the vote - just over one percentage point ahead of Le Pen. Despite earlier controversy, Macron has clarified that he supports gay marriage.

After a recent study suggested that one in five gay men will vote for the National Front candidate, BBC Newsbeat interviewed a number of men in Le Marais, part of Paris’s LGBT district, about their opinion on the election and Marine Le Pen.

"Where are the gays most in danger? In Islamic countries," Pascale, one of the men said. "Gay people are being crucified - it's a danger and I don't want it coming to France, definitely not."

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Part of Le Pen’s appeal is her tough stance on immigration, promising to temporarily suspend immigration while putting French interests first – mirroring US President Donald Trump’s campaign, with Cedric, another gay man interviewed by Newsbeat stating that there were bigger issues that needed addressing than LGBTIQ rights.

"There are priorities in France other than homosexuality. I myself am in a same-sex couple and there have been many advances in this area," Cedric said.

"But for me there are more pressing issues like the economy, the national debt and unemployment."

The National Front was founded in 1972 by Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie, who made a number of xenophobic, homophobic and anti-Semitic comments before being expelled from the party by Marine in 2015. 

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