Rosario Crocetta

Sicily’s first openly-gay governor has both been hailed and come under fire for his conservative and apparently homophobic views, with The Guardian newspaper describing his election as “not a victory for Italy’s gay rights movement”.

Commentators have noted that the newly elected governor Rosario Crocetta has never used his public office to support LGBT rights or issues.

Most problematically, the staunch Catholic has promised to not have sex while he is in office, perpetuating, say critics, the Vatican’s belief that gay sex is immoral and unacceptable.

“If I were to become Sicily’s president, I would say farewell to sex to consider myself married to my region and its inhabitants,” Crocetta was quoted as saying in August.

Paola Bonesu, a political communication consultant, told The Guardian: “He is ready to refrain from sexual intercourse in order to distance himself from the stereotypical promiscuous homosexual lifestyle.”

The 61-year-old Crocetta is known for his campaigns against the mafia and is said to have survived at least three assassination attempts.

Crocetta is Italy’s second openly-gay governor. In 2005, Nichi Vendola – who has been much more vocal about gay rights – was elected governor of Apulia.

Italy stands out among Western European countries in that it offers no recognition of same-sex relationships. The Catholic Church has expressed its vehement opposition to same-sex marriage and unions, with the Pope claiming that they endanger the human race.

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