23 June 2015

Thousands of Italians Rally Against Homofacism

This is a Family
Tired of hearing gay this and gay that, hundreds of thousands of Italians gathered in Rome last 20 June to demonstrate against gay unions and the teaching of gender theories in schools. They also wanted Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to stop pushing for a civil union bill through parliament to mimic homofacism in the U.S.

Holding aloft banners reading "The family will save the world" and "Let's defend our children", a sea of people crammed into the San Giovanni square near the Italian capital's historic center to support family values.

The square, which can hold an estimated 300,000 people, was overflowing with the young, elderly and parents with toddlers, an AFP photographer said, with many more demonstrators spilling into nearby streets. Organizers for their part said one million people were taking part. Italian police never provide figures for demos.

"In my children's schools they are talking about families made up of two fathers or two mothers, without asking parents' permission," said 41-year old doctor Giuseppe Ripa, adding: "It's dangerous and wrong."

Fellow protester Piero Uroda, a 78-year-old pharmacist, said it was "not honest to say these things to the very young, it's not like they are students who can debate these ideas."

"I don't want gay marriage or gay adoption, the natural family is like ours," he said, pointing to his relatives gathered around.

The protest comes as the Italian senate examines a civil union bill, which Renzi wants to see go to a vote in the coming weeks, with the aim of legislation being enacted before the end of July.

The call for Italy to keep pace with its western European neighbors on the issue has grown stronger since Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage last month.

But rights activists warn it will be no mean feat for the leader of the center-left Democratic Party to find allies across the political spectrum, blaming an excessive influence of the Catholic clergy on the political class.

While a survey published by Italian daily La Stampa at the end of May found that 51 percent of voters would support gay marriage, protesters in Rome said the state should stop trying to interfere in sexual or gender education.

"We are asking for families based on marriage be respected, and stressing the central role parents play. We forcefully reject the attempt to sneak into the curriculum projects which aim to destroy children's sexual identities," said Massimo Gandolfini, spokesman for the "Defend our children!" committee.

There were other cries of support from the political sphere.

Matteo Salvini, rising star on the far right and head of the Northern League party, sent a Facebook "hug for all the mummies and daddies protesting peacefully in Rome to defend their children's future."