Thursday, April 28, 2011
ROME - A top Italian official on Saturday called an Ikea advertisement with two gay men holding hands "in bad taste", invoking the ire of opposition parties and rights groups.
"I find it serious and in bad taste that a Swedish multinational comes to Italy to tell Italians what they should think," Secretary of State for family policy Carlo Giovanardi said in a television interview.
The Swedish furniture giant's advertisement shows two men with a shopping bag, holding hands, and the words: "We are open to all families".
"I think that many clients of Ikea will not find this pleasant," said Giovanardi.
While Ikea was free to address itself to whom it pleases, the term family as used in the advertisement "is in direct opposition to our constitution which says that family is founded on a marriage", he added.
Gay rights activist Aurelio Mancuso said Giovanardi's statements were "dangerous and aggressive and risk fueling the climate of homophobia that drives violence and insults against gays, lesbians and transsexuals."
Lawmaker and gay activist Franco Grillini pointed out that: "in the rest of Europe, they have adopted laws that recognise all forms of family", while fellow MP Ignazio Marino mocked Giovanardi for "launching a crusade against an advertisement".
Italy does not recognise homosexual marriage or civil union, and has no law against homophobia.