Rome mayor supports gay marriage
Reposted from The Local: http://www.thelocal.it/20131115/rome-mayor-supports-gay-marriage
Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino has thrown his support behind gay marriage, saying Italy has a "backwards" approach to people's rights.
Marino, who took over from conservative Gianni Alemanno in June, made the comments during a RepubblicaTv interview on Thursday.
“If two people are in love and get married, I don’t see it as a problem.
“Many people on the left are scared of the word ‘marriage’, I’m not scared at all,” said Marino, a member of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
The former surgeon described Italy as “terribly backwards on the question of people’s rights” and said that experience working abroad had helped change his view on gay marriage.
“A few years ago I would have been uncertain, but then when I was abroad I got to know my daughter’s friends who were brought up with same-sex parents. They were all happy, and now I don’t have a problem [with gay marriage],” Marino said. The mayor studied in the UK and went on to study and work in the US, specializing in organ transplants.
Marino’s comments on same-sex marriage mark a broader shift towards equality between gay and straight people in Italy.
In June Laura Boldrini, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, joined Josefa Idem, at the time equal opportunities minister, at Gay Pride in Palermo, Sicily.
Politicians are also working on an anti-homophobia bill; debate on the legislation in September prompted members of the Five Star Movement (M5S) to stage a kissing protest in support of gay rights.
But Italy still has some way to go before equality becomes the norm. In September the CEO of pasta company Barilla said the company would never use a gay family in his adverts. After facing strong criticism Guido Barilla did however apologize and the pasta company has since hired consultants to help it become more gay-friendly.