• Italy's news in English
 

Berlusconi speaks out in support of gay rights

The Local · 30 Jun 2014, 12:34

Published: 30 Jun 2014 12:34 GMT+02:00

The Forza Italia leader is not known for his support of gay rights but on Sunday made a rare expression of solidarity for Italy’s gay community.

“The [fight] for civil rights for homosexuals is a fight that in a truly modern and democratic country should be everyone's responsibility,” Berlusconi said, according to La Repubblica.

"As a liberal, I believe that through a broad and in-depth debate we can reach a reasonable objective for justice and civilization," the 77-year-old added.

Berlusconi made the statement the day after a number of Gay Pride marches were held across Italy, which saw tens of thousands of Italians take to the streets in support of gay rights. The remarks also came hours after his girlfriend Francesca Pascale and Vittorio Feltri, a journalist at Il Giornale, a newspaper owned by the Berlusconi family, signed up to Italy’s main gay rights organization Arcigay.

Writing in an editorial for the right-wing paper, Feltri said: “We are for freedom, without discrimination, convinced that it is necessary to overcome prejudice that generates misunderstandings, triteness and tedious and stupid insults.”

Responding to the news of its latest high-profile members, Flavio Romani, Arcigay’s President said: “Pleased to welcome Vittorio Feltri and Francesca Pascale among our members." But, he added, "membership to Arcigay also involves commitments.”

Berlusconi's statement appears to show a change in tune for the former prime minister who, in 2010 was infamously quoted as saying “my passion for women is better than being gay” as he fought of allegations of “bunga bunga” sex parties.

His remarks, which were widely reported in the international media, were immediately condemned by Arcigay. Speaking at the time, Arcigay's former president Paolo Patanè demanded an apology from Berlusconi, describing his attitude as “chauvinistic and vulgar”.

It is only one in a series of anti-gay gaffes. Further back in 2005 Berlusconi was quoted as saying: “In Italy only communists and gays are sanctified.”

Currently serving a sentence for tax fraud, convict Berlusconi is currently appealing his conviction for paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his position as prime minister to get her out of jail.

The first appeal hearing fixed the date for the prosecution closing speech as July 11th, and said the verdict would be handed down on July 18th. 

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Hit video shows the beauty of Rome life
The Rome video shows scenes from across the Italian capital. Screenshot: Vimeo/Oliver Astrologo

Hit video shows the beauty of Rome life

12 minutes ago

A new video of life in Rome has been watched nearly half a million times, with viewers divided over whether such beautiful images portray an unrealistic view of the Italian capital. The Local catches up with its creator to find out what shaped his view of the Eternal City.

Venice Film Fest
Depp tipped for Oscar at Venice film festival
Johnny Depp was greeted by thousands of fans in Venice. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Depp tipped for Oscar at Venice film festival

1 hour ago

Johnny Depp's portrayal of James 'Whitey' Bulger was tipped on Friday as a potential Oscar winner after Black Mass, an account of the Boston mobster's life of crime was unveiled to a warm reception at the Venice film festival.

Italy's footballers to get green cards
A new green card will be used by referees to reward good sportsmanship in Serie B. Photo: Ingythewingy/The Local/Flickr

Italy's footballers to get green cards

2 hours ago

A green coloured card will give new powers to referees in Italy's second tier of professional football, Serie B, in an attempt to promote good sportsmanship.

How to help refugees if you live in Italy
A boy arrives in Italy after being rescued in the Mediterranean. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

How to help refugees if you live in Italy

3 hours ago

Thousands of people from Syria, Eritrea and elsewhere are still arriving every month on the country's shores. There are lots of ways you can help these refugees in their hour of need - here are some ideas from The Local.

At least 30 people feared drowned in Med
So far this year 118,500 people have arrived in Italy by sea. Photo: Moas/Jason Florio

At least 30 people feared drowned in Med

4 hours ago

UPDATED: At least 30 people are feared to have drowned off Libya after their dinghy began to sink, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Friday.

World first as woman wins pizza contest
A 42-year-old woman has won the world pizza making contest in Naples. Photo: Matt Harris/Flickr

World first as woman wins pizza contest

5 hours ago

A 42-year-old Italian from Naples has become the first woman to win the world pizza making championships.

Billionaire bids to buy Italian refugee island
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris announced the initiative on Twitter. Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP

Billionaire bids to buy Italian refugee island

7 hours ago

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has offered to buy an island off Italy or Greece and develop it to help hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from Syria and other conflicts.

VIDEO
Pope makes surprise visit to central Rome
Pope Francis visited Rome's city centre close to Piazza del Popolo. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Pope makes surprise visit to central Rome

8 hours ago

Pope Francis went to an optician's in central Rome on Thursday to try on glasses, Italian media reported.

Euro 2016
 Pelle fires Italy top of group with Malta win
Graziano Pelle scored the goal in Italy's 1-0 win over Malta. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli

Pelle fires Italy top of group with Malta win

8 hours ago

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle scored off Antonio Candreva's pinpoint cross to hand Italy a precious 1-0 win over Malta in Florence on Thursday that sent the hosts top of their Euro 2016 qualifying table.

Italy struggles to help traumatized refugees
A woman arrives in Italy after being rescued in the Mediterranean. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

Italy struggles to help traumatized refugees

23 hours ago

The sensation of drowning, short-term memory loss, insomnia and suicidal tendencies: they may have made it safely to Italy, but many asylum seekers are plagued by symptoms of trauma and the psychological help they need is in short supply.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Culture
Ten Italian lifestyle habits to adopt immediately
National
Italy's jobless rate at lowest level in two years
National
Renzi under pressure over brutal Sicily murder
National
Alpine dam disaster remembered 50 years on
National
Italian lesbian author gets papal blessing
National
Muslim mayor refuses to take in refugees
Travel
Ten adventurous ways to see Italy
Education
Fewer Italians want to be doctors
Sport
Nibali kicked off Tour of Spain for hitching a lift
Features
Italy's best-kept secrets: 10 must-see places
Italy wants answers on mobster's flashy funeral
National
The neglected children of Italy's domestic workers
National
Doggy bags: The last Italian taboo?
Travel
Civita: The Italian town that refuses to die
Travel
How bad mannered tourists are riling Venice
National
Italy slammed for 'faking' Roman ruin
National
10 Italian dishes with truly disgusting names
National
Italian park held hostage by 'veggie' panther
National
Lost pensioner survives on herbs for nine days
National
Italian mum and daughter reunited after WWII
Five 'ghost' buildings that cost Italy dearly
National
Pompeii survives bumpy restoration saga
National
Italian town warns people to 'stop dying'
National
Why Italy's south is far better than the north
Rome 'too crowded' for more migrants: mayor
Politics
Italy's anti-establishment party 'ready to govern'
Sport
Rome rules out using Vatican for Olympic bid
National
Italy's south is worse off than Greece
National
What happens to Italy’s missing migrant kids?
National
Rome mayor fights for survival amid chaos
National
Six dodgy fashion trends to emerge from Italy
National
Is Italy about to legalize cannabis?
National
Rome's 'decay' prompts council reshuffle
Business & Money
Chinese are quaffing more Italian wine
Travel
Seven daft TripAdvisor comments about Italy
National
Italian town bans dog barking during naptime
National
Tornado predicted as Italy heatwave ends
National
Italy told to recognize same-sex couple rights
National
Migrant girl dies after insulin thrown in sea
National
Heatwave kills 140 pensioners in Piedmont
National
Treviso homeowners burn migrants' furniture
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,173
jobs available