04/26/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Italy is not exactly the most gay friendly of places in Europe. This should not be surprising given the looming presence of the Roman Catholic Church in the peninsular nation. So, when Ikea decided that it was time to advertise for those luscious gay euros burning a hole in the pocket of gay men in that nation, they launched an ad which features a gay male couple holding hands with a shopping bag. The caption reads “We are open to all families.”
Secretary of State for Family Policy Carlo Giovanardi, of course, was far less than pleased by it. Giovanardi is an ally of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, from all appearances.
Giovanardi stated in a television interview “I find it serious and in bad taste that a Swedish multinational comes to Italy to tell Italians what they should think. . .I think that many clients of Ikea will not find this pleasant.”
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.
Still, LGBT activsts have not been exactly too happy with what he said. Aurelio Mancuso called the statements “dangerous and aggressive and risk fueling the climate of homophobia that drives violence and insults against gays, lesbians and transsexuals.”
Lawmaker Franco Grillini pointed out that “in the rest of Europe, they have adopted laws that recognise all forms of family”, and MP Ignazio Marino mocked Giovanardi for “launching a crusade against an advertisement”.
Given the changes within Italy’s culture of late, somehow, attacking an ad might not be too bright, especially given the scandal surrounding Berlusconi.