A debate has begun in Italy's People of Freedom (PDL) party (the party of Silvio Berlusconi) about gay rights, and proposing laws against hate crimes and in favor of same-sex unions, Europe Online reports:
"I do not understand, I really don‘t, why (fellow) Catholics should fight battles against those who call for the recognition of same-sex couples," PDL coordinator Sandro Bondi (pictured) said at the weekend.
His remarks came amid bitter controversy in France about the legalization of gay marriage and in the wake of a report by ILGA-Europe, a pan-European association, classifying Italy and Bulgaria as bottom of the EU class on homosexual rights.
Bondi was reacting to a letter published Saturday by centre-left newspaper La Repubblica, where a gay 17-year-old said he was writing as his "last alternative to suicide" and lamenting that "not everybody has the luck to be born a heterosexual."
Laura Boldrini, speaker of the lower house of parliament, also replied to the teen, offering to meet with him and saying that she "really hoped" that lawmakers would soon adopt a law making homophobia a criminal offence.
Other members of the PDL – such as former ministers Giancarlo Galan and Stefania Prestigiacomo – backed Bondi‘s position. "It is time for homosexuals to also be given the (full) rights of Italian citizenship," Galan said.