Berlusconi Does a 180, Announces Support for Gay Rights
Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian Prime Minister best known for his conviction for having sex with an underage prostitute and notorious "bunga bunga" parties held in the private disco of his Milan mansion that featured showgirls performing striptease acts dressed as sexy nuns and nurses, has suddenly gotten less judgmental about gay people, The Local reports.
"The [fight] for civil rights for homosexuals is a fight that in a truly modern and democratic country should be everyone's responsibility," Berlusconi said Sunday, according to La Repubblica.
"As a liberal, I believe that through a broad and in-depth debate we can reach a reasonable objective for justice and civilization," the former PM added.
Berlusconi's comments, which were made a day after Gay Pride celebrations across Italy showed huge crowds coming out in support for gay rights, are a stark departure from the man who in 2011 said that Italy's government would "never" grant adoption or marriage rights to gay and lesbian citizens.
According to Pink News, an hour prior to Berlusconi's pro-gay comments, his present girlfriend Francesca Pascale, and Vittorio Feltri - who runs a newspaper owned by Berlusconi - both joined the gay rights group Arcigay.
Berlusconi's about-face on gay rights may come as a shock to many, considering his long history of anti-gay rhetoric, including his November 2010 comment: "It's better to like beautiful girls than to be gay."
Berlusconi is currently serving a sentence for tax fraud, and is appealing his conviction for paying for sex with an under-age prostitute.
Earlier this month, Italy's current Prime Minister announced that the Italian Senate will debate a same-sex civil unions bill in September.