Italian PM distances himself from anti-gay, anti-abortion event

Italian PM distances himself from anti-gay, anti-abortion event in Rome for The Guardian

Giuseppe Conte’s logo used without approval to promote global families conference

A nun snaps her friend next to a cardboard cut-out of the pope at last year’s World Congress of Families in Dublin.
 A nun snaps her friend next to a cardboard cut-out of the pope at
last year’s World Congress of Families in Dublin.
Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

The Italian prime minister has distanced himself from a conference that will bring together anti-gay, anti-feminist and anti-abortion activists from around the world in Verona, after organisers appeared to suggest his office had endorsed the event.

The logo of Giuseppe Conte’s administrative office had been used without his endorsement to promote the US-run World Congress of Families event, which calls for a return to the “natural order” and has widespread backing from Italy’s far-right League party.

Use of the logo to promote the three-day event, which takes place at the end of this month, was agreed by the families minister, Lorenzo Fontana, a League politician from Verona who once said gay marriage threatened to “wipe out our community and traditions”.

The families ministry has been told to remove the logo from the event’s website, with officials voicing anger that it was used at all.

Vincenzo Spadafora, a Five Star Movement (M5S) parliamentarian with responsibility for equal opportunities, told La Repubblica: “The secretary general of the prime minister’s office completed a very important investigation and has asked the ministry of families to remove the patronage. I was among the first to highlight the problem.”

Italy is hosting the congress, which is expected to be attended by Matteo Salvini, the co-deputy prime minister and leader of the League, amid mounting opposition from rights’ groups and the party’s coalition partner, M5S.

Luigi Di Maio, the M5S leader and co-deputy prime minister, said on Wednesday that the conference was for “right-wing losers” and that League politicians attending did not represent the government but their own political ideals.

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