A clique of sex-obsessed old men in the Vatican continues its offensive against civil union legislation (read DICO) by stigmatising the demonstration last Saturday in Piazza Farnese as carnivalesque, hysterical, a masquerade and so on. As one who was there, I can tell them this simply isn't true, that the event was almost depressingly sober.
But--as is the case with most phobics--the truth doesn't seem to be what concerns them. Once again, ignoring the scope and purpose of the proposed legislation, that of ensuring a measure of economic security to couples bound by affection, regardless of sex and sexual orientation, l'Osservatore Romano (the Vatican house organ) accuses the demonstration of two cardinal sins: a lack of respect, and an inappropriate use of children.
It's both arrogant and mendacious to expect people who are constantly insulted, demeaned and denigrated to show respect for their denigrators. Respect is mutual, or not at all. And the casuistic papal tosh that the homosexual is worthy of respect as an individual but not as someone capable of giving and receiving love (and, yes, that includes sex) is the kind of nonsense it can apply to its own members if it wants, although it's signally failed to convince a significant number of priests, bishops, cardinals and even, dare I say it, pontiffs of this. But it certainly has no right to extend its magister to the rest of the population.
Besides, if a couple of papal hats made out of cardboard are all it takes to make a carnival, what on earth is the real thing supposed to be? And if a slogan saying the Devil wears Prada is so deeply offensive to Ratzinger why doesn't he think a little harder about the appropriacy of wearing designer clobber and rattling on about poverty? Presumably for the same reason he presides over an ostensibly celibate institution and 'defends the family' as natural law.
The presence of children at the demo appears to have been particularly galling to pontifical sensibilities. It's becoming increasingly clear that what perturbs Ratzinger et al. isn't the fact that gays are 'constitutionally sterile' (as Berlusconi's tart, Mara Carfagna, says), but that we're the opposite. We can have children! And we do! It's our sexual potency that's so disturbing. And the comments made yesterday by the Minister for the Family (and co-author of the draft bill), Rosy Bindi, to the effect that gay men and lesbians 'can forget children', is in line with this fear. But what on earth does she mean? That the law will annul the desire for maternity and paternity? That we'll have to be sterilised in order to share a pension? As a celibate herself, she clearly needs to learn a little about human ingenuity. If gays want kids, they'll have them. And if the law makes life difficult for gay couples and their children, it's the children who'll suffer. Is this what Bindi wants? Apparently yes. In a remark which appals on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin, she announced that it's better to leave a child in Africa, with its tribe (!), than to allow its adoption by a gay couple. Has she told Madonna? But that's OK. Millionaire absentee mothers and their male bitches (sorry, Guy!) are perfectly acceptable parents for African children...