Headed by Mayor Roberto Gualtieri, the Roma Pride procession started the celebration of the LGBTQI+ community.
Mayor Roberto Gualtieri headed a colourful procession made up of thousands celebrating the LGBT community on Saturday as Roma Pride 2023 got under way. A row which saw the Lazio regional government pull its sponsorship of the event threatened to overshadow it.
The banner at the front of the march read “Queeresistenza” (Queer-resistance). The procession featuring 35 carnival floats departed from the capital’s Piazza della Repubblica.
Participants included members of many opposition parties, including Elly Schlein, the leader of Gualtieri’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the 5-Star Movement (M5S), former minister Maria Elena Boschi of the centrist Italia Viva (IV) party and former foreign minister and European Commissioner Emma Bonino.
Lazio Governor Francesco Rocca withdrew the region’s sponsorship of Roma Pride, accusing organisers of twisting the agenda for the event to lobby in favour of surrogacy, which is a crime in Italy.
It came after Rome Pride spokesperson Mario Colamarino, who is also the president of the historic gay rights group Circolo Mario Mieli, criticised a bill currently before parliament that aims to make surrogacy a universal crime.
This would make it prosecute Italians who resort to using surrogate mothers in countries like Spain and the US where it is legal. Many gay couples in Italy have had children via surrogacy.
“I’m here today because it’s important,” said Schlein, who has come out as bisexual.
“The PD will always be where LGBTQ+ rights are protected and promoted, starting with equal status for (gay) marriage, adoptions and the recognition of the children of same-sex couples”.
Gualtieri continues to register same-sex couples as parents
In March, the centre-right coalition government drew criticism from the opposition and rights activists after it instructed city mayors to stop registering both members of a same-sex couple as the parents of a child, via a procedure based on the transcription into Italian civic registers of the foreign birth certificates of children conceived via surrogacy or assisted fertility, which is only available to heterosexual couples in Italy, citing a ruling by the Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest court.
This led to concern that same-sex parent families will face multiple practical and legal problems, with only the member of the couple (the biological parent) registered as its legal parent.
On Friday, Gualtieri registered two lesbian couples as the parents of children despite the government saying the practise is not legal.