Head of Italy’s Lazio Revokes Support for Pride Parade

Francesco Rocca, the president of the Lazio region who was chosen by right-wing Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, said on Monday that he has revoked support for Roma Pride 2023 Queeresistenza (Queeresistance).

It was initially announced on Monday that Lazio, the region around Rome, would sponsor the event, but then Rocca withdrew support because he said the organisers wanted to make it appear that Lazio was supporting Italians' right to seek surrogacy abroad, which the Meloni government wants to criminalise.

The proposed legislation is seen by campaigners as part of a wider anti-LGBT agenda. Surrogacy within Italy is already illegal.

But Rocca told Italian newspaper La Stampa that the decision was nothing to do with homophobia or "orders from above."

"The revocation was only based on the fact that they wanted to exploit our support by making it appear as if it endorsed the practice of surrogacy," he said.

The decision by Rocca, who came to office in February 2023 after being proposed by Meloni as the official candidate of the centre-right coalition, sparked strong criticism from LGBT activists and the political opposition.

"The revocation of the patronage of Rome Pride by the Lazio Region once again demonstrates that institutionalised homophobia exists within the Brothers of Italy [Meloni's party]. It is state homophobia," said Riccardo Magi, secretary of the liberal More Europe party.

Mario Colamarino, a spokesperson for Roma Pride, accused the Lazio regional government of acting on the orders of the hardline Catholic anti-abortion movement Pro Vita.

Colamarino claimed that the sponsorship was revoked after Pro Vita launched social media posts asking the region to withdraw support for the event...

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