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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 14, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 24
New mayor of Rome promises same-sex unions
Section One
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New mayor of Rome promises same-sex unions

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

During his campaign, Rome's newly elected mayor, Ignazio Marino, said he would authorize same-sex unions in the city. Roman children should be taught about LGBT equality, he added.

In the June 10 election, Marino trounced the right-wing incumbent, Gianni Alemanno, winning 42% of the vote to Alemanno's 30%.

Alemanno, who was described by the British newspaper The Guardian as 'a former neo-Fascist boot boy turned modern center-right politician,' was elected four years ago on a law-and-order platform, but that issue seems to have backfired on him in the wake of a rash of well-publicized Gay-bashing in the Italian capital.

The openly Gay governor of Apulia, Nichi Vendola, told BBC reporters he feels unsafe going out late at night in Rome with his partner, but he added that he would love to be able to have an open civil union in front of family and friends. He would be excited for a chance to do so, he said.

To make matters even worse for Alemanno, convicted gangster Luciano Casamonica posted a Facebook photo of himself posing with a grinning Alemanno captioned 'The mayor and vice mayor of Rome.'

Alemanno's defeat is seen as yet another setback for his ally, former Prime Minister and now convicted felon Silvio Berlusconi. Asked what the effect of his defeat would be on Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, Alemanno replied, 'Not positive.'

A PIONEER IN MEDICINE
Marino is not a professional politician, but instead is one of Italy's leading transplant surgeons. In 2001, he performed the first transplant in Italy on an HIV-positive patient.

The young man had applied to almost all of the country's transplant centers, but had been rejected. Marino, however, accepted him as a patient, sparking a huge controversy in Italy's medical establishment.

Then-Minister of Health Girolamo Sirchia warned that the surgery would have 'catastrophic results.' A few months later, Italy's National Transplant Centre (CNT) reprimanded Marino and warned him not to perform any further transplants on HIV-positive patients.

However, the surgery was not only successful, but the patient is still alive and in good health. A committee was subsequently established at the CNT to determine whether transplants on HIV-positive patients should be carried out, and nearly three years later a final report approved the procedure. Today, transplants are regularly and successfully performed on HIV-positive patients in Italy.

In 2006 Marino was elected to the Italian Senate representing the Democrats of the Left party, and has been chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Health, where he became an advocate for end-of-life directives contrary to Catholic teaching.

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