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Rainbow Lights Memorializing Teen Suicide Anger Italian Cons

Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty Images

by YOUR HEAD FAG IN CHARGE

The Eternal City has become the center of controversy due to the local council’s decision to string rainbow-themed Christmas lights along its famous shopping street, the Via del Corso. Some have responded negatively to the decision to take a stand against homophobia, reports Agence France-Presse.

Every year, lights are hung down the busy street over the holidays, stretching for nearly a mile. Sometimes they’re simple and monochromatic, sometimes they’re more elaborate, like in 2011 when the 150th anniversary of Italian unification was honored with lights the colors of the Italian flag.

The local council chose the rainbow-themed lights to send a message of peace and acceptance following the recent suicide of a gay teen. “That is how we came up with the rainbow flag idea,” said city assemblywoman Imma Battaglia.

Not everyone responded warmly to the decision, especially Italy’s far-right Fratelli d’Italia, or the Italian Brothers, party. “The idea is provocative and idealogocial,” said Fabrizio Ghera, an assemblyman from the party. “There should be an Italian tri-colour instead.”

The company that installed the lights asserts that the lights are now dedicated in memory of former South African president Nelson Mandela. “This way the message of tolerance, unity and sharing will become stronger,” said the head of the company, Laura Rossi.

Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty Images

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