Political backlash over Italian LGBT campaigner's colourful grave

The Local Italy
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Political backlash over Italian LGBT campaigner's colourful grave

The centre-right Forza Italia party has called for restrictions on the colour schemes of grave sites in a northern Italian town in reaction to the brightly coloured grave of a gay rights activist.


The blue and yellow grave is located in the cemetery of Mariano Comense in Como, Lombardy, and belongs to Carlo Annoni, a 61-year-old nurse who died in April. Along with his partner of 36 years, Corrado Spanger, Annoni was a campaigner for LGBT rights in Italy, and Spanger decorated the burial site in their favourite colours, with photos of his late partner.

But a councillor from Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, Andrea Ballabio, said the grave was "too showy and colourful". Ballabio said the design was "almost an insult to the other deceased and their loved ones" and announced a motion to be presented to the local council, calling for new norms to be introduced regarding the shapes and colours permitted in the cemetery.

Local LGBT rights organization, Arcigay Varese, has called on Forza Italia to withdraw the motion.

"We believe that everyone has the right to determine, as they believe best, how to commemorate a deceased person. The motion presented by Forza Italia is insensitive and out of place," said Giovanni Boschini, the organization's local president, in a statement. Boschini also expressed his closeness to Spanger and called on other political parties to "strongly oppose" the motion if it was not withdrawn.

Spanger and Annoni travelled to London for their civil union in 2010, before the same-sex ceremonies had been legalized in Italy, and two years ago they returned to the UK to get married. In memory of his partner, an actor and director, Spanger has also set up a script-writing prize for LGBT-themed writing in English, Italian, and French.


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