Government sponsors this event but declined to sponsor previous, vastly larger pro-family event
By John Jalsevac
ROME, Italy, June 18, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A crowd of what is being reported as "tens of thousands" demonstrated this past weekend in Rome, calling for the legal recognition of same-sex unions.
The pro-homosexual demonstration comes only a month after a much larger pro-family demonstration was held in the Eternal City. This weekend's event concluded at the same spot that the pro-family march did-the piazza in front of St. John Lateran Basilica, which is the church designated as the official seat of the papacy.
The "Gay Pride" parade was sponsored by the Italian government this year, reports ZNet, although the Prime Minister issued an order that no government ministers should attend the event. Nevertheless, several ministers defied the PM's orders, and attended the parade anyway.
"I am here to salute the participants of the Gay Pride ... because their demands are positive. They bring up problems and questions which concern all Italians," Social Solidarity Minister Paolo Ferrero said.
However, some lamented the fact that while the government was so willing to sponsor the homosexual event, it was unwilling to sponsor the much larger pro-family event, Family Day, which was attended by some 1.5-1.7 million demonstrators.
"This government discriminates against the family," charged Isabella Bertolini, an MP with the Forza Italia conservative coalition, according to ZNet. "The government sponsors Gay Pride but would not sponsor Family Day. What a terrible disgrace for the State."
Lorenzo Cesa, member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and secretary the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, made a similar complaint, stating "the support the government is giving to gay pride through its ministers, and which was not given to Family Day, is an insult to the Italian family."
Current Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has promised that he will try to legalize so-called same-sex "civil unions," granting many of the privileges afforded to married couples to homosexual relationships. However, he faces an uphill battle, with some polls showing a vast majority of Italians strongly opposed to the idea, and the Vatican heading a campaign opposing any such legislation.
As of yet no official statement about the homosexual "Pride" event has come from the Vatican, although Pope Benedict and other Italian Bishops have been very vocal in their condemnation of any legal recognition for homosexual unions.
Last week Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, the leader of the Italian Bishops' Conference, received his second mailed death threat--a package containing 3 bullets. In April he received a first package, which had contained only 1 bullet. In addition, "Shame on you, Bagnasco" was scrawled on the doors of his cathedral, and the words "Death to Bagnasco" were spray-painted on a number of churches. Archbishop Bagnasco has vocally condemned any efforts by the Italian government to give legal recognition to same-sex couples, bringing down upon himself the ire of Italian homosexual activists.
"Why not say no to various forms of living together, to the creating of alternative forms of the family?" Archbishop Bagnasco had said, warning that legalization of homosexual unions would make it difficult to prevent the further breakdown of family life and sexual morality. "Why not say no to the incest of a brother and a sister who live together and have children in Great Britain? Why not say no to the party of pederasts in Holland?"