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Italian Town Recognizes Gay Married Couples

Fano gay marriage

Last month an Italian court legally recognized a married gay couple for the first time in the country. Now the town of Fano is following suit and recognizing the marriage of Fausto Schermi and Edwin Van Dijck in the City Registry.

City mayor/registrar Stefano Aguzzi authorized the recognition and is the first mayor in Italy to do so; it will also be his last action as mayor of Fano on May 30. Interestingly, Mayor Aguzzi is politicaly right of center. The marriage and its recognition was quite the celebratory ordeal, and many photos of the couple's happy day have been uploaded to Facebook.


Italy's LGBT Movement and the Activists Driving It Forward

Mixner

BY DAVID MIXNER

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with a large number of Italian LGBT leaders and influencers. In many ways, their struggle for LGBT rights is in its infancy stages and lags behind most of the Western European powers. However a network of rights organizations make these pioneers a force whose power grows daily in Italy and puts them far ahead of Eastern Europeans.

Adoption rights, hate crimes legislation and marriage equality still all have to be obtained in Italy. At the moment, a hate crimes bill is working through the legislature (it has passed the Chamber of Deputies and is currently in the Italian Senate) but it seems to have quite a few detractors — some who believe it is not tough enough and some who will simply oppose anything having to do with the LGBT community.

ScalfarottoFranco Grillini in 2001 became the first open LGBT member in the Parliament. He was joined by the first Lesbian Anna Paola Concia who was elected in 2008. Today one of the most powerful members in the Chamber of Deputies is openly gay Ivan Scalfarotto (right). The handsome and articulate advocate is Vice Chair of the governing Democratic Party. When meeting with him, one is immediately impressed with his passion, intellect and political agility. Scalfarotto started out as a member of the Green Party in 1988 and shifted to the Democrats in 2008. The passionate activist has pushed for a Hate Crimes bill and is exploring creating national civil unions for Italy.

Over breakfast, Ivan said he was interested in creating an Italian version of the Victory Fund. He believes it is time to move dramatically forward in electing more LGBT Italians to office. There is no question that his charismatic and promising leadership will help make that a reality.

Mg_3187_pp2-copia-fileminimizerAnother bright light is youthful Matteo Pegoraro (right) who hails from Solesino. He is active at both the grassroots and political levels and expressed  impatience with Italy's slow progress.  When asked about then new young Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo told me:

I admit I'm still pretty doubtful. So far, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has given priority to constitutional reforms to reduce public spending and groped to boost employment, but no word yet from the Italian government on the protection of LGBT people. However, hope is the last to die, and I really hope that this Prime Minister can listen to the voices of our community and strive to make a better Italy through raising awareness and social welfare, which starts from the total recognition of fundamental rights.

In addition, the lesbian community has a star in Luisa Bordiga who is coordinator of Arcilesbica Milan.

The country's largest LGBT organization is Arcigay and it covers the broad spectrum of grassroots politics. EDGE is a new professionals organization. Famiglie Arcobaleno and Rete Genitori Rainbow are two family-oriented organizations that would make PFLAG proud.

Without question one of the organizations that could wield considerable influence in Italy is PARKS. The organization is named after American civil rights icon Rosa Parks and its members are the diversity officers of major corporations in Italy. Corporate giants such as IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Telecom, Citi and IBM are members of the group which has embraced LGBT rights as part of its agenda. You can find its Executive Director Igor Suran all over Italy spreading the gospel of diversity. Lining up these major corporations and others could be the major catalyst for change that is needed in Italy.

Like the rest of the Western powers the victory for Italian LGBT rights feels inevitable. Some of the leaders think marriage equality is ten to twenty years down the road. Interestingly, most of the young organizers think it will only be five years. What is clear is that this Italian LGBT community is a passionate, talented and determined force that will make this happen.

In discussions with the activists, the Vatican comes up over and over again. The Catholic church hangs over the movement in Italy like the Evangelicals do in the United States. A couple of activists even offered to move St. Peter's Basicilica to the United States. I respectfully declined and said that their offer was far too generous!


Italian Town Votes to Recognize Gay Marriage

The city council of Latina, a small commune in central Italy, has voted in favor of a motion to support the recognition of a same-sex couple’s marriage.

Agere per Formulas reports:

Garullo ottocentoAntonio Garullo and Mario Ottocento [pictured] were the first Italian gay couple to be married more than 10 years ago in Holland. In 2004 they asked the Ufficio dello Stato Civile of the Comune of Latina to register their marriage but their application was turned down. So the couple sued theComune of Latina, but in 2005 the Tribunale of latina rejected their complaint. Then they appealed the Court decision to the Court of Appeal of Rome where they found a second denial. Eventually the couple appealed the second negative decision to the Supreme Court of Cassation. In 2012 this court rejected their appeal but delivered a landmark opinion for LGBT rights. That Court said that the Italian laws should treat gay and straight couple equally. 

Antonio and Mario asked the Comune of Latina to record their marriage on April 15 and this afternoon the Council of the Latina approved in a 14-2 vote (1 absentee) a motion in support of the record of their marriage.

The motion is addressed to the Italian Government, which will decide whether or not the commune of Latina can register the marriage. 


Photos Of Gay Couples Kissing In Churches Gets NYC Show After Vatican Disapproval

Gay_kiss_catholic_church

When Rome’s Galleria L'Opera tried to artist Gonzalo Orquin’s photographs of gay, lesbian and straight couples kissing in Rome’s Catholic churches, the Vatican threatened legal action and had the showing stopped (the opera cited “security reasons”).

But it looks like those photos will still get a showing in Manhattan’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art on April 30.

The New York Daily News reports:

The photos were taken without permission from the churches involved. A Vatican spokesman claimed the photos could “harm the religious sentiment of the faithful.”

Another exhibition from Orquin — this time showing a woman dressed like a priest — was later vandalized.

But in New York, Orquin’s work is receiving a warm welcome. It will be featured in the SoHo-based museum’s window gallery and will be visible to passersby on the street.

Leslie-Lohman Museum Director Hunter O’Hanian said of Orquin’s church photos, “These were very beautiful, simple portraits of same-sex couples in a space that they held sacred and important to them. I hope visitors [who see them] leave with a wonderful feeling of compassion and humanity.”


Court Recognizes Gay Couple as Married for First Time in Italy

Chigiotti

An Italian court today recognized a gay couple as married for the first time in Italy, AFP reports:

The court in Grosseto in Tuscany ordered the city council to list the couple, who had their wedding in New York in 2012, as married in a ruling that was immediately hailed by gay rights campaigners as historic.

“This is an unprecedented case in our country,” Sergio Lo Giudice, a senator for the Democratic Party and a former head of the watchdog Arcigay, told reporters...

...Grosseto judge Claudio Boccini ruled that there was "no reference to gender" in the city council register of married couples and the couple in question should therefore be included.

Fabrizio Marrazzo, a spokesman for Gay Center, called for a response from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Joseph Chigiotti and Stefano Bucci, the couple petitioning the court, were married in New York in 2012 but had been denied registration in Italy following their marriage.

(image source)


Willem Dafoe Portrays Gay Italian Director Pier Pasolini: PHOTO, VIDEO

Pier_paolo_pasolini_dafoe_1

The twitter account of the Criterion Collection recently shared two images of Willem DaFoe portraying the influential Italian poet and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini from director Abel Ferrara’s upcoming film Pasolini.

Pasolini’s body of political and artistic work made him a much celebrated and controversial figure in his native homeland. During the student revolts of the 60s and 70s, he empathized with the policemen, stating that the students were “anthropologically middle-class” and thus too over-priveleged to understand the manipulated plight of the poorer (and thus truly proletariat) policemen. Though Pasolini was openly gay for his entire career, homosexuality and queer themes do not dominate his work. Rather, his artwork also depicted Italian life in a gritty, unflattering neorealistic style that denounced the homogeneic effects of consumerism and unflinchingly depicted sex as an unromantic and sometimes torturous ordeal.

Homosexual themes found their way into three of his films:

“in Teorema (1968), where Terence Stamp's mysterious God-like visitor seduces the son and father of an upper-middle-class family; passingly in Arabian Nights (1974), in an idyll between a king and a commoner that ends in death; and, most darkly of all, in Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom (1975), his infamous rendition of the Marquis de Sade's compendium of sexual horrors.”

In 1963 Pasolini met "the great love of his life," a boy 26 years his younger named Ninetto Davoli. Though their sexual relationship only lasted a few years, the two men lived together for a long while as companions and Davoli appeared in six of Pasolini’s films. In 1975, the director was murdered by being run over several times by his own car. Initially, a young hustler confessed to the crime, but recanted his story 29 years later, saying that he confessed under the duress of the real murderers who had killed Pasolini for being a “dirty communist.”

Dafoe also played gay detective Paul Smecker in the 1999 film Boondock Saints. We discussed how he crafted the role during his red carpet appearance at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival.

See his interview and another picture of him as Pasolini AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Willem Dafoe Portrays Gay Italian Director Pier Pasolini: PHOTO, VIDEO" »


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