Giuseppe Ripa, the deputy mayor of Lecce, has caused outrage after attacking left-wing governor of Apulia, Nichi Vendola on his Facebook page.
'In nature, there exist only two types human beings: the man and the woman,' Ripa wrote, before continuing to say that the rest were psychiatric cases requiring psychoanalytic treatment.
Paolo Perrone, mayor of Lecce was quick to criticise his deputy's remarks, writing in his own Facebook post: 'I like to practise politics by debating with my adversaries on the issues, not on the sexual preferences of this or that person, which are a matter of one's private life.'
Politicians across Italy soon followed suit with Democratic Party deputy Paola Concia denouncing his comments as 'vulgar and offensive' while Ripa's own People of Freedom party condemned his outburst.
Raffaele Lauro, a senator with the People of Freedom party stated: 'It is urgent to put in place a law that punishes such behaviour.'
Governor Vendola, a key member of Italy's gay rights group Arcigay has refused to respond to Ripa's comments. However, deputy governor Loredana Capone has lashed out at Ripa and his 'homophobic junta'.
At present, Italy has no law against homophobia and does not recognise same-sex unions of any kind.
Ripa has since publicly apologised to Vendola for his remarks in an official statement on his Facebook page.