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Rainbow Christmas lights in memory of gay teen spark controversy in Italy

Sunday, December 8, 2013

ROME, Italy — The rainbow-themed Christmas lights that were illuminated Friday on Rome’s main shopping street have sparked controversy in the Italian capital city.

AFP

AFP

City assemblywoman Imma Battaglia said she and mayor Ignazio Marino had decided to send a message with the multicolored lights, which ripple for almost a mile of the bustling Via del Corso, reported AFP.

Battaglia, who also leads a gay rights campaign group, said the lights were intended to be against homophobia following the suicide of a gay teenager in the city.

But the right-wing Fratelli d’Italia (Italian Brothers) party has labelled the decision “provocative and ideological,” and is demanding the lights to be replaced with ones showing the three colors of the Italian flag, red, white and green.

Battaglia, who is from the leftist Sel party, added that the light display could also be seen as a peace symbol.

The head of the company behind the installation, Laura Rossi International, has sought to defuse controversy, saying the lights would now be dedicated to the late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

“This way the message of love, tolerance, unity and sharing will become stronger,” said company leader, Laura Rossi.

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Filed under: Europe

142 more reader comments:

  1. beautiful

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:33pm
  2. That looks great!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:34pm
  3. They are beautiful. Not just that they please they eye but also for the reason they were chosen. ♥

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:34pm
  4. It’s a pity that there are still closed minded people that make a beautiful display like this controversial. Love is love.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:35pm
  5. It's obscene that some people feel gay people have no right to life.

    Replied on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:07pm
  6. Same with transgender and bi-sexual-- it's a shame...

    Replied on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:30pm
  7. Beautiful!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:35pm
  8. love

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:35pm
  9. Love it!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:35pm
  10. Beautiful lights.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:35pm
  11. Bella!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:36pm
  12. quite lovely actually… get over it… too many other things to worry about

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:36pm
  13. I like them! they look quite nice!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:36pm
  14. Shared

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:37pm
  15. Stellarness, this kind of spirit should be spread around the world

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:37pm
  16. oh FFS, have these bigots ANY decency? Apparently they can’t even respect the memory of a teen who was driven to SUICIDE by bigotry?

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:37pm
  17. love that in my bedroom!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:38pm
  18. Fuck those tards in italy. This is beautiful

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:38pm
  19. I love the lights they are absolutely beautiful!!! I believe we should always be willing & able to honor G-d’s children that he made in his vision.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:41pm
  20. They are beautiful, my eldest son was killed 8/18/13, I am to honor him, I am getting a tattoo of his name in a rainbow over my heart, I think the lights are beautiful : )

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:43pm
  21. It’s very pretty. Divertirsi Italia! Non preoccuparti!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:44pm
  22. Some days I roll my eyes and just think how stupid people are when they hate on lgbt other days like today I get stark raving pissed at the ignorance of lgbt right opressors give it up arseholes lgbt will eventually get full rights to everything they ask for!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:44pm
  23. God people, stop bitching about every freakin little petty thing!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:46pm
  24. Why is this such a problem for folks? truly baffled.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:47pm
  25. Very pretty and appropriate.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:48pm
  26. The lights aren’t bothering anyone and they offer a beacon of hope to those in need of it. I don’t see why they had an issue. I think it’s a beautiful display of love.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:48pm
  27. I think they’re beautiful! Standing ovation!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:48pm
  28. People be tripping over the most pathetic ass shit. Rainbow lights… Big fucking deal. Get the fuck over it. Whiney ass Homophobes.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:49pm
  29. Beautiful tribute.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:49pm
  30. people have a fucking problem with everything. shut the fuck up and let it be you stupid fucking cunts

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:51pm
  31. Tell Italy to get over it after all look at their past? I’m talking centuries people!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:52pm
  32. Very pretty and great tribute.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:55pm
  33. They look beautiful! Hope I can see them one day.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:59pm
  34. Beautiful…..

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:00pm
  35. I like the way they are going to be used to celebrate both the LGBT Community and the life of Nelson Mandela the first president of the Rainbow Nation

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:02pm
  36. Planning a trip there next September. Perhaps our lesbian money will be better spent elsewhere.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:02pm
  37. well done

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:03pm
  38. That is beautiful!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:04pm
  39. Keep them up. They are beautiful in so many ways

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:04pm
  40. leave it b , if they want to be with the same sex its up to them its not my life as long as they don’t try to push it onto me or my family then I don’t give a shit, just think of the lights as a rainbow live an let live

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:05pm
  41. Awesome.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:05pm
  42. This is gorgeous, I’d be very sad if they took them down for the meaning behind it…

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:05pm
  43. Loven it

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:08pm
  44. christmas… doesnt matter if your atheist, gay, or hardcore bible follower, It is BEAUTIFUL.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:09pm
  45. Katie Kramer can you imagine how beautiful this is?!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:10pm
  46. Richard

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:12pm
  47. Wow nice..My parents country

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:17pm
  48. Yes, it’s a pity that the right wing FRATELLI D’ ITALIA (Italian brothers) are so narrow minded as well as all the right wing. But yet the lights are beautiful and they represent freedom of love.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:17pm
  49. I’m not surprised and really no one else should either: it’s Italy.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:23pm
  50. Sad, but true. I don't think it's all rainbows and unicorns in other countries, but things here are really fucked up for this being a European country.

    Replied on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:39pm
  51. The lights are beautiful and should be somewhere permanently

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:26pm
  52. T

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:29pm
  53. Italy isplagued by homophobic fascist vermins!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:29pm
  54. Wow that is awesome i wish i could be there in person

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:41pm
  55. http://anthonyheetland.weebly.com #love #NOH8 #equality

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:42pm
  56. svetovno O.o

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:42pm
  57. Bit if a cop-out but they are beautiful no matter who they are dedicated to.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:45pm
  58. What a beautiful gesture during the holiday season. There will always be ignorant, hate-filled people in the world. It’s compassion, kindness, and love that always wins.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:46pm
  59. And by controversy they actually mean it pissed off a bunch of nasty politicians functioning as tools for the vatican. Good!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 7:50pm
  60. hermoso

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:04pm
  61. That is just O.M.G GORGOUS LIVELY BEST OF ALL EVERYONE WILL LOVE THIS !!!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:10pm
  62. they are gorgeous

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:12pm
  63. It’s time for us to be provocative, ideological and firm. ALL of us are important and worthy of respect.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:15pm
  64. I bet Pope Francis likes it for the beauty it radiates.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:21pm
  65. What controversy? It’s sooo beautiful!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:23pm
  66. Jerry Callender: I agree, Jerry. And I absolutely don’t understand that kind of hate.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:23pm
  67. They’re awesome!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 9:12pm
  68. It should spark conversation not controversy!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 9:30pm
  69. Just BEAUTIFUL.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 9:34pm
  70. Such a heartbreaking story. I think the lights are beautiful and in this young man’s honor they should be left alone!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 9:56pm
  71. Omg people really need to stop with all the hate!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 10:08pm
  72. Lovely

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11:02pm
  73. that is nice

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11:04pm
  74. thats cool

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11:18pm
  75. lights are gonna turn more.

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11:37pm
  76. Why should it offend ? The idiocy of people;(

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11:41pm
  77. People just choose to be seen as idiots. I love the lights!

    Posted on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 11:52pm
  78. Oh dear…. upset a few ignorant uneducated homophobes… GOOD.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:38am
  79. yes, they are beautiful and send a beautiful message

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:43am
  80. Beautiful and touching tribute. I’d be honored if this was on Main Street in my town.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:44am
  81. This is allegedly a season of good will.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:45am
  82. pretty!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:46am
  83. small children will love this display

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:47am
  84. how beautiful!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:51am
  85. !

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:53am
  86. They’re pretty. Just leave them.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 1:16am
  87. I think it’s a beautiful display.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 1:23am
  88. People are stupid…we will create controversy over ANYTHING! Leave the lights as they are…they are beautiful no matter what group attaches which meaning to their presence…maybe, just maybe they can mean something to everyone without offending someone else…if we let it.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 1:42am
  89. SERIOUSLY, NOW YOU CAN’T EVEN DEDICATE AGAINST HATE? OMG ITALY GROW UP, ASIDE FROM YOUR MEDIEVAL POLITICS AND YOUR BICKERING, YOU NEED TO GROW UP! YOU ARE THE MOST BIGOT OF ALL THE EU COUNTRIES.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 1:45am
  90. AT THIS RATE JOIN RUSSIA AND BE DONE WITH IT.

    Replied on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 1:47am
  91. They are beautiful, and a wonderful tribute to the young man who died. Unfortunately, Italy is a very Catholic country, and, as such, a very homophobic one. Sadly, I fear that, until the church gives its’ complete acceptance of homosexuality, the closed minds of most Italians will remain closed…

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 2:00am
  92. Alan Josué grosse!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 2:14am
  93. Beautiful! :)

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 2:16am
  94. I don’t even understand how this is controversial. Since when did gay people own the rights to the colors of the rainbow. We don’t, so if they wanna hang up rainbow color light at the main shopping street. Than their should be no problem with that. Please, why would anyone have an issue with remember all the teens that killed themselves. If anything we should embrace this, and use these lights as a way to remember how bigotry and discrimination can kill people.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 2:24am
  95. Pretty.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:03am
  96. Does this remind anyone else of those Airheads Extremes? I wanna eat it.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:14am
  97. Wow that’s so pretty what a fitting tribute

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:18am
  98. If I had those lights, I would proudly hang them in front of my home! They mean so much to me!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:01am
  99. I think they are just beautiful. And, what a lovely symbol for peace and community.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:36am
  100. NICE TRIBUTE…

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 5:16am
  101. great

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 5:37am
  102. Just beautiful!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 5:51am
  103. They are beautiful

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 6:00am
  104. It’s a shame that happened to a beautiful young girl. People need to learn to accept people for who they are, not for who they expect them to be.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 6:02am
  105. Pretty I wanna do something like that.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 7:17am
  106. What a wonderful thing to do… makes me want to do something like this at our house. Not sure that I want to subsidize National Grid that much though, LOL!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 7:18am
  107. Only liking this because of the gorgeous lights. Come on Italy. Italion food rocks, so can Italion people by being more supportive VS crazy ridiculous.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 7:36am
  108. thats purrty!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 7:56am
  109. Beautiful, what’s not to like?

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 8:23am
  110. <3 from here

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:15am
  111. Xoxo Big Gay Love

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:45am
  112. So pretty and totally meaningful

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 10:03am
  113. Awesome!!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 10:57am
  114. Welcome to the capital of my country where politics and vatican goes hands in hands and no plan for equal rights are in their projects, those lights are just “nice”, after that NOTHING MORE for the gay community which here are the real “second class citizen”.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 11:24am
  115. I believe in freedom of choice!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 11:35am
  116. Wonderful

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 11:58am
  117. that is awesome

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:40pm
  118. OH MY GOSH!! Nice. I just realized what they are

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 12:44pm
  119. They should ban all rainbows from the skies after rainstorms. SMH

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 1:16pm
  120. i love it rain bows

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 1:48pm
  121. they are class <3

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 2:00pm
  122. its so beautiful

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 2:00pm
  123. oh thats nice!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 2:42pm
  124. I remember when I was a kid and a rainbow was just a rainbow. now everyone is afraid to like one because its the gay and lesbian symbol.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:05pm
  125. Ej hvor smukt

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:07pm
  126. It’s like Nyan Cat flew by. I love it.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:16pm
  127. THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL!! TRUE EQUALITY FOR ALL!!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:15pm
  128. omg this is so sad

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:16pm
  129. OMG! These are so beautiful and touching. Why should there be anything but respect and happy times? Some people just have no life, IMHO!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:30pm
  130. Someday soon less of us will have to die

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 5:00pm
  131. Love it…

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 5:30pm
  132. Nice!! ;-)

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 5:59pm
  133. Oh are the Catholics offended? Too bad. Try being gay in a Roman Catholic country!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 6:05pm
  134. Love is love. Amen

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 6:23pm
  135. So beautiful.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 8:16pm
  136. beautitul!

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 10:19pm
  137. “People should fall in love with their eyes closed.” Andy Warhol

    No age, no religion, no gender, no race should matter. Love is LOVE.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 10:59pm
  138. I say leave them as they are and let them have the meaning each individual assigns to them.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 11:08pm
  139. i love it :) very cool

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 2:17am
  140. I’m too distracted by the pretty colors to actually notice the article.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 2:58am
  141. That’s pretty cool.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 10:14am