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Saturday, 3 June, 2000, 01:17 GMT 02:17 UK
Italian politician breaks sexuality 'taboo'
An Italian cabinet member has publicly declared he is bisexual - and added to the growing row over a planned gay pride festival in Rome.

Italian Agriculture Minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio made the announcement in an interview with the weekly news magazine Panorama.

"I'm against choosing just homosexuality or heterosexuality in a rigid, old-fashioned style... I choose absolute sexual liberty," he said.

The daily newspaper La Repubblica said he had broken "a taboo".

Few public figures in Italy are openly anything but heterosexual. Italian politicians generally regard their personal life as private.

Panorama described him as "courageous".

Rally

Mr Scanio said he fully supported a controversial gay pride rally to be held in Rome next month.

He said he could not understand the fuss over the rally.

"It's a normal demonstration against discrimination and in Italy, both the right to demonstrate and the right to choose one's own sexual orientation exist," he told the magazine.

Prime Minister Giuliano Amato has criticised the planned festival.

He told parliament that gay pride celebrations in Rome were "inappropriate" during the Holy Year called by Pope John Paul II to celebrate 2000 years since the birth of Jesus Christ.

Mr Scanio said: "I don't know where the offence to religion is... It seems to me that the Church is confusing gay pride with a kind of sex show."

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30 May 00 | Europe
Rome divided over gay festival
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