The mayor of Rome on Monday said the
city would no longer officially sanction the planned World
Gay Pride event planned for the end of June and beginning
Mayor Francesco Rutelli's decision followed urging by the
Vatican and regrets at its timing by Prime Minister
Giuliano Amato. The city had originally planned to sponsor
the event despite Church objections, but Rutelli said the
planning of inappropriate events, such as a gay fashion
show to be held near a church, made him change his mind.
The reversal of sponsorship would mean that permits won't
be issued for various outdoor events, but organizers of the
event said they will hold a demonstration march in any case.
Rutelli said the city would still "be the guarantor of the
gays' freedom to demonstrate." The city council also said
it would still give the promised 300 million lire
($145,600) it had pledged, but the organizers could no
longer use the city logo.
Critics said the timing of the event during the Jubilee
Year 2000 was a slap in the face to Catholics and virtually
guaranteed confrontations between pilgrims and homosexuals,
who often mock the Church during such public festivals.
Organizers of the festival said they attempted to
accommodate the Jubilee schedule, moving the date of its
march from June 28 to July 8 to avoid taking place a day
before the major feast of Ss. Peter and Paul on June 29.
The impetus for withdrawing support from the event came
from a surprisingly wide political spectrum of both
left-wing and right-wing politicians at all levels of
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