Donatella Versace criticizes Italian Prime Minister Meloni's "anti-gay" policy

Donatella Versace and Giorgia Meloni / Photo EPA

Donatella Versace, the Italian fashion designer and creative director of the Versace fashion house, criticized the Italian government and the Prime Minister George Maloney for what he called anti-gay policies, reports Euronews.

"Our government is trying to take away people's rights to live as they want," Versace said in her speech, specifically citing a government policy that allows only the biological parent in same-sex couples to be officially recognized as the parent.

"They limit our freedoms," she said. "We must all fight for freedom, at a time when trans people are still seen to suffer terrible violence, at a time when the children of same-sex couples are not considered their children, at a time when minority voices are attacked by new laws."

The speech received a standing ovation from the fashion crowd at Scala, where Versace received a humanitarian award.

Gay rights activists praised her for clearly challenging the government's actions, but called on the entire fashion community to do more.

"Donatella Versace was the first person in Italy to be so clear and explicit in the face of the government's homophobic policies," said Franco Grillini, a longtime gay rights activist. "She is one of the most important names in fashion and I invite others to follow her example."

In addition to blocking the recognition of children of same-sex couples, Prime Minister George Maloney's right-wing government is pushing legislation to ban overseas surrogacy, making it punishable by prison terms and similarly harsh penalties. A 2004 law already bans surrogacy in Italy.

The Italian Gay Party also praised Versace's support and urged her to support their campaign for a referendum on same-sex marriage on the Italian ballot.

"Donatella Versace's declaration is important. It has made it clear how this government is reducing the freedoms and rights of the LGBTI+ community," said Fabrizio Marrazzo, spokesman for the Gay Party. "We ask her to support us, especially the campaign for marriage for lesbians, gays and trans people to be the same as for everyone else.

They hope to start collecting signatures in January, aware that "this parliamentary majority does not want to give us rights." Italy approved same-sex civil unions in 2016, the last major Western country to do so.

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