Mayor of Venice won’t allow “kitsch” gay Pride in “his” city


Luigi Brugnarol, the bigoted Mayor of Venice

The Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnarol, has outraged Italy’s LGBT community by stating that he will never allow a gay Pride parade in the city.

In an interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Brugnarol insisted: “There will be no Gay Pride in my Venice.”

Describing Pride events as “a farce” and “the ultimate in kitsch,” he added: “Let them go and do it in Milan or in front of their own windows.”

Flavio Romani, the president of Italian gay-rights group Arcigay, told Reuters that Brugnarol was acting on behest of the Catholic Church.

“Venice is not [Brugnaro’s] city. At the moment he is governing it, but he won’t last long given the fool he is making of himself,” said Romani.

Brugnarol, who only became mayor in June, had already managed to anger LGBT Italians last month when he said he planned to ban 49 books dealing with discrimination and LGBT issues from the city’s school libraries.

“Parents need to educate their children on these things, not schools,” he said at the time, vowing to protect families that consist of a mother and a father.

After a public row and threats by more than 250 Italian writers to withdraw their books from the libraries, two books about same-sex families were ultimately banned.

British singer Elton John, who is raising two children with his husband, joined the fray over the book ban on social media, describing Brugnarol as “the extremely silly looking mayor of Venice.”

Added John: “So instead of encouraging a world based on inclusiveness, tolerance and love, he’s championing a future society that’s divisive and fosters ignorance. Beautiful Venice is indeed sinking, but not as fast as the boorishly bigoted Brugnaro.”

A Pride event was last held in Venice in 2014. In response to the mayor’s ban on Pride in the city, Fabrizio Marrazzo , spokesperson for the Italian group Gay Center, called for “Gay Pride 2016 to take place in Venice” and suggested that Elton John lead the procession.

In contrast to most other European nations, not only is same-sex marriage not legal in Italy, but same-sex couples are also not offered any legal protection, such as civil unions or partnerships.

Over the last 20 years numerous bills to recognise same-sex relationships have been rejected by the Italian Parliament in large part due to opposition from the Catholic Church.

Last month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy is violating the human rights of gay and lesbian couples by not offering them legal recognition.

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