[Fini's] clear, explicit language about lgbt (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) and the rights of non-married couples – both heterosexual and homosexual – offer, for the first time in history of the Second Republic, the possibility of a right-wing party which is at last secular, liberal and European which may yet be a catalyst for the growth of an equally advanced Left truly in support of civil rights. The Left we’ve been waiting for for years.
Fini has definitively broken with Silvio Berlusconi. As the latter slips into a pathetic half-life worthy of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, Fini is doing a fair job of convincing skeptics he’s no longer a Fascist.
Nichi Vendola, on the other hand, is being touted by some as “the white Obama”. He has the virtue of actually being gay, and not just mouthing politically correct opinions (still a rare but welcome gesture in Italy). He is also a published poet, a Communist and a devout Catholic. Like Pasolini, on whom he wrote his thesis. One might wonder how he reconciles being gay, Catholic and Communist, but he says there’s no contradiction:
Vendola does not see any contradiction between being a devout Catholic and his declared sexual identity. “I have always been Catholic and gay, I have never concealed this and I refuse to adopt feelings of guilt,” he said in interviews with Italian media. “It is easier to talk about this with priests than with politicians.”
OK so we’re apparently making progress. The two most touted post-Berlusconi politicians are (so far) intent on making sure Italy deserves to be a European country. But can we expect either of them to stand up to the Catholic Church when the going gets rough? Can we expect them to respect the secular nature of the State?
Keep an eye on these two in the coming months.