June 16, 2008

Gay Pride, Italian Style

Italy gay pride march protests against government and Church
Sat Jun 7, 2008 12:46pm ED
ROME (Reuters) - Some 10,000 dancing and singing homosexuals and gay-rights supporters marched through Rome on Saturday, many of them chanting slogans against the Vatican and Italy's conservative new government.
The yearly Gay Pride march took on added political significance because city officials denied a request for the march to end with a rally near the Basilica of St John's in Lateran, the pope's cathedral in his capacity as bishop of Rome.
[...] The new conservative government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has made it clear it has no intention of passing legislation that would give gay couples some sort of legal recognition.
That promise had been made by the previous centre-left government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi but was blocked by opposition from the Vatican and the Italian Catholic Church.
Berlusconi and the Vatican see eye-to-eye on many issues and his government's relationship with Church is much more cordial than that of the previous government.
"Berlusconi kisses the pope's slipper and says 'yes' to everything. We risk a theocracy and clerical dictatorship," said Franco Grillini, a homosexual who was a parliamentarian in the previous government.
Mock marriages were performed on some of the floats drawn through the city as scantily clad homosexual men danced on other floats.
Some of the demonstrators carried placards accusing conservative politicians of being "hypocritical slaves" of the Vatican. Several of the gay men were dressed in papal masks or bishops' garb.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella, editing by Mary Gabriel)

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