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President of European Parliament shows support for anti-LGBTI conference

President of European Parliament shows support for anti-LGBTI conference

President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani

LGBTI advocates in the European Parliament are angered the parliament’s President, Italian politician Antonio Tajani, may speak at a family conference notorious for being against women’s right and LGBTI rights.

The World Congress of Families VIII is taking place in Verona, Italy from 29-31 March. The event wants, ‘to unite and equip leaders, organizations, and families to affirm, celebrate, and defend the natural family as the only fundamental and sustainable unit of society.’

Themes for this year’s congress include, ‘the beauty of marriage.’

Confirmed speakers include Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini, and its Minister for Family and Disability, Lorenzo Fontana. Both are politically right-wing. Fontana caused controversy last year after taking office by saying children benefit most from being raised in a ‘natural’ family, consisting of a mother and father.

European Parliament President to speak at family congress

Up until 13 February, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, also appeared on the list of speakers at the event.

Tajani is Vice President of the center-right Italian political party Forza Italia. He also became President of the European Parliament in 2017.

His name no longer appears on the list of speakers on the congress’ website. However, it is unknown if he has withdrawn from the event.

‘Profound surprise and disappointment’

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights has written an open letter to Tajani. They call on him to withdraw his support from the Congress.

The letters signatories tell Tajani they want to express their, ‘profound surprise and disappointment to see you, President of the European Parliament, initially accepting to take part in an event which “defends the natural family as the only fundamental and sustainable unit of society.”

‘The World Congress of Family is organised by the International Organisation for Family (IOF), a cross-continents umbrella organisation known for its anti-LGBTI agenda. The IOF was established in 2015 with the Cape Town Declaration, which “affirm the dignity of marriage as the conjugal bond of man and woman” and the importance to resist “every push to redefine marriage: to include same-sex ones.”

‘In recent years, the rhetoric of “protecting the natural family” has been used not only to preach hate against Rainbow Families, but also to promote the criminalisation of homosexuality in several countries across the globe, as well as restrictions on rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and self-determination for LGBTI people.’

‘Deserves explanation’

GSN has contacted the World Congress of Families, and Tajani, for comment and clarification. We are awaiting a response.

One of those to sign the letter was German MEP Terry Reintke. She tweeted that Tajani’s apparent support for the ‘homophobic’ event ‘deserves explanation’. She said, ‘The EP [European Parliament] promotes human rights and open societies. And so should its President!’

See also

Italy passes law that will reject migrants fleeing anti-gay persecution

Italy’s new right-wing Minister for Families says rainbow families ‘don’t exist’