May 31, 2000
volume 11, no. 101

NEWS for Wednesday, May 31, 2000

    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 of July.

    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 government.

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