The mayor of Venice has said he never wants to see a LGBT Pride parade take place in the lagoon city while he is in charge.
Luigi Brugnaro – who this month had a public row with British rock star Elton John after banning “gay” books from the city – said that LGBT pride marches were the “height of kitsch”.
“There will never be a Gay Pride in my city,” he told la Repubblica. “Let them [the LGBT community] go and do it in Milan, or in front of their own homes.”
LGBT rights group Arcigay – who hold LGBT Pride parades across Italy every year – last visited Venice in 2014.
A representative form the group rebuked Brugnaro’s comments – accusing him of confusing his own, anti-gay with those of city that is “open and sophisticated”.
“Venice is not his city. At the moment he is governing it, but he won’t last long given the fool he is making of himself,” said Arcigay President Flavio Romani.
“He is becoming obsessive about this. Venice does not deserve it,” Romani told Reuters.
Brugnaro sparked outrage soon after taking public office, by banning books featuring same-sex couples from the city schools.
However, it was not only the Italian people who were unhappy with the move.
Sir Elton John spoke out against the Mayor of Venice – calling him “extremely silly” in the wake of the ban.
“He’s stupidly chosen to politicise children’s books by banning titles that touch on same sex families living happily ever after.”
“Beautiful Venice is indeed sinking,” Sir Elton said, “but not as fast as the boorishly bigoted Brugnaro. #ShareTheLove”
Italy remains the only major country in Western Europe which does not have legal protections for cohabiting same-sex couples, or same-sex marriage.