The Senate Speaker Ignazio La Russa has expressed outright misogynistic and homophobic beliefs in a TV interview. One of the State’s highest officials has since come under fire from opposition politicians.
Senate Speaker Ignazio La Russa has come under fire for saying he would be saddened if one of his children came out as gay. La Russa made the comment in an interview with Rai television.
The Inter-supporting member of PM Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, said it would be like having a son who “supports AC Milan, is different to me. “A heterosexual father would want his son to be like him,” he added.
In the same interview, set to be screened today, he said “the aesthetic level of right-wing women has fallen, while their quality, their capability, has increased”.
Indignant opposition politicians
Opposition politicians expressed indignation at the comments. “The State’s second-highest official has insulted women and homosexuals,” Alessandra Moretti, an MEP for the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), said via Twitter.
“Rights are at great risk with this government. I say to La Russa that all children are equal: simply children. Whatever their sexual orientation, the colour of their skin or their religious beliefs”.
Senator Silvia Fregolent of the centrist Azione/Italia Viva/Renew Europe group, said La Russa had “forgotten” that he was the State’s second highest official. She went on to say he has “pulled off the miraculous feat of expressing himself inadequately about women and homosexuals in the same interview.
“I don’t know whether to hope that the Senate Speaker’s comments are fruit of the desire to make a joke of everything or they really match his thoughts,” Fregolent said. “Either way, we should be worried”.
After the furore broke out, La Russa stressed that having a gay son would only sadden him “a little” and would not be a problem.
The comments of La Russa are sadly symptomatic of much of Italian government and swathes of society. It is less than 18 months ago – before the current government took power – that the Senate vetoed the ‘Zan Law’.
That law would have made violence against LGBT people and disabled people, as well as misogyny, a hate crime. Sadly, during that time violence against women has continued, an ISTAT survey revealed a quarter of LGBTQ+ workers felt discriminated against and some politicians continue to air their narrow-minded beliefs.
In an interview with AP last month, Pope Francis ‘criticised laws that criminalise homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are’. Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalise homosexuality or discriminate against LGBTQ people. However, he called on them to apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.” If the head of the Catholic Church can think that way, one would hope a mere politician could.
As for La Russa’s backhanded compliment regarding the rising capability of women…
Perhaps when the likes of La Russa, Berlusconi and the rest of their ilk are man enough not to feel threatened by intelligent women, they can set a good example for the elements of Italian society who also seemingly feel emasculated in the presence of women with brains.
It is time to take action when people in positions of power make such moronic comments. No wonder many in the Senate voted against the so-called ‘Zan Law’. Had it passed, La Russa would find himself being hauled in front of the judge to answer for his inanities. In the absence of such a law, he should be severely reprimanded, or even better removed from his position. We can but hope.