Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a rare public statement Sunday indicating his support of LGBT rights, according to Italian media 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, reports 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.”
Berlusconi, 77, made the remarks the day after a number of LGBT pride marches were held across Italy, which saw tens of thousands of Italians take to the streets in support of gay rights.
The remarks also came hours after his girlfriend Francesca Pascale and Vittorio Feltri, a journalist at Il Giornale, a newspaper owned by the Berlusconi family, signed up to Italy’s main gay rights organization Arcigay, reports The Local.
Berlusconi has a history of anti-gay gaffes, including in 2010 when he was quoted as saying “my passion for women is better than being gay” as he fought of allegations of sex parties.