European Parliament President May Speak At Anti-LGBT+ Conference

Antonio Tajani has attracted criticism from LGBT+ advocates within the EU after he appeared among the line-up of speakers for the event.

The President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani in front of the EU flag.

Following reports that the President of the European Parliament – Antonio Tajani – intends on participating in the World Congress of Family, a number of LGBT+ activists have penned a letter, urging Tajani to reconsider.

The World Congress of Family is due to take place at the end of March in Verona in Italy. The premise of the event is to celebrate the ‘natural family’ while resisting efforts to advance the rights of LGBT+ families.

Tajani became President of the European Parliament in 2017. Additionally, he serves as the Vice President of the centre-right political party Forza Italia.

The statement reads:

“We want to express our profound surprise and disappointment to see you, President of the European Parliament, initially accepting to take part in an event which ‘defends the natural family as the only fundamental and sustainable unit of society.”

The letter continues:

“The World Congress of Family is organized by the International Organisation for Family (IOF), a cross-continents umbrella organisation known for its anti-LGBTI agenda. The IOF was established in 2015 with the Cape Town Declaration, which “affirm the dignity of marriage as the conjugal bond of man and woman” and the importance to resist “every push to redefine marriage: to include same-sex ones”.

The letter highlights the role the organisation plays in stigmatising LGBT+ families:

“In recent years, the rhetoric of ‘protecting the natural family’ has been used not only to preach hate against Rainbow Families, but also to promote the criminalisation of homosexuality in several countries across the globe, as well as restrictions on rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and self-determination for LGBTI people.”

The group highlighted how, given his position in the EU, Tajani would be failing to advocate for human rights if he participates in the Congress:

“May we remind you that LGBTI rights are human rights, and therefore protected by the European Union and enshrined in all its activities. As the President of the European Parliament therefore representative of all EU citizens, it is your responsibility and duty to refrain from taking parts in events that contribute to preaching hate against vulnerable groups such as LGBTI people.”

Italy’s Interior Minister – Matteo Salvini – has confirmed that he will be attending the Congress. Salvini has been an opponent of LGBT+ rights in Italy. In the past, he has called same-sex parents “unnatural”, and has pledged to “exercise all possible power to defend the natural family founded on the union between a man and a woman”.

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