Italy has finally agreed a new Government following a March 2018 election in which no one party earned a ruling majority.
The new Government is headed by Giuseppe Conte. He has forged a coalition arrangement between the right-wing Northern League and Five Star Movement. Because of this, several Northern League politicians have landed Ministerial positions.
One already making headlines is Lorenzo Fontana. The deeply Conservative Catholic has spoken out against women’s reproductive rights and LGBTI families. Previously, addressing an anti-abortion rally, he said that gay marriage and changing concepts of gender would, ‘wipe out our community and our traditions.’
Last year, he criticized the Court of Appeal in Trento when it offered parental recognition to two gay dads. He called the ruling, ‘a dangerous precedent, which opens up unsettling scenarios.’
In an interview over the weekend with Corriere della Sera following his appointment last week, he was grilled on his attitudes towards gay people.
Fontana said that the family was the cornerstone of all society. He has previously stated supporting the notion of the ‘traditional family’. When asked if he was anti-gay, he said ‘I have many homosexual friends. After all I lived in Brussels for many years where many gay people hold positions in institutions.
‘They don’t exist at the moment, as far as the law is concerned’
Italy does not allow single people or gay couples to adopt or foster children. However, some local courts have offered formal recognition to gay couples – in cases of step-child adoption and some IVF parenting.
Nevertheless, Fontana was quick to point out there is no nationwide law offering such recognition.
‘A law does not exist in this regard.’
Asked how he planned to treat ‘rainbow families’, he said that he would never discriminate against children, regardless of their parents. However, he questioned whether rainbow families technically ‘exist’ in Italy.
When the interviewer says they do exist and there are many in Italy, he responded: ‘They don’t exist at the moment, as far as the law is concerned.’
Fontana went on to say that he wanted to empower doctors to do more to discourage women from having abortions.
‘I am Catholic, I do not hide it. That’s why I believe the family is the natural one, where a child must have a mother and a father.’
In response to the interview, dozens of images of rainbow families have been posted to Fontana’s social media pages with the message: ‘We exist.’
Cathy La Torre, who began the campaign, told La Repubblica the ‘troll-bombing’ action ‘will be peaceful, not offensive and with the aim of demonstrating that we exist.’
Following Fontana’s appointment, another social media campaign also sprung up after a Twitter user announced she’d donated 10 Euros to Arcigay, one of Italy’s leading LGBT advocacy groups, in the Minister’s name. Others have now followed suit.
Ho appena donato 10 euro ad Arcigay a nome del ministro Lorenzo Fontana.
— simonamelani (@simonamelani) June 1, 2018