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Rome's World Pride 2000
Basks in International Attention

300,000 Homosexuals to Mix with Vatican Jubilee Pilgrims

Neo-Fascists March in Protest-- Catholic Clerics Complain

Compiled By GayToday

Rome, Italy—A clash of cultures began last weekend as gay men and lesbians began arriving here from many countries to celebrate World Pride 2000. Because of anti-gay publicity stirred up by the Vatican, many more—300,000-- are expected to attend these 9-day festivities than would otherwise have done so.

Some Pride organizers referred to the Vatican's behavior as a European catalyst comparable to The 1969 Stonewall uprising in the United States.

The Pride attendees, to the dismay of the Pope's spokesperson, are, in fact, mingling with Polish religious pilgrims who are in town for the Vatican's jubilee celebration.

Rome's shopkeepers have been disappointed by a meager turnout of these religious pilgrims, however, and, in contrast to the Vatican, are reportedly quite eager to host a large turnout of high-spending homosexuals.

The celebrations began officially with a ceremony in the gardens of the Philharmonic Academy as Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta cut a rainbow ribbon.

The purpose of World Pride, said organizers, is to achieve equality and respect. Neo-Nazis, Forza Nuova, were reported to have marched through Rome, however, to offer Right Wing "protections" for "family values" that it says are being undermined by the advent of gay liberation.

Forza Nuova had announced that it would summon 2,000 marchers. The actual number, according to police estimates, was closer to 250. Some reports described portraits of Mussolini carried by the jack-booted Right Wing group.

Another far-right organization, the National Alliance party, marched with torches, hoping to "repair the shame" being caused by gays, they said, to Rome "the capital of Christianity."

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The latest issue of Civilta Cattolica (Catholic Civilization) patronizingly lectured World Pride attendees, smugly dictating what they'd be permitted to do:

"They can go ahead with their demonstrations but they should keep them within the limits of common sense and respect. The Church does not condemn homosexual people but homosexual behavior.”

Some have openly called the clash (between the Vatican and their neo-Nazi supporters on one hand, and gays and Italian Jews on the other) reminiscent of the treatment given both groups when, during World War II, Hitler and Mussolini were allies. Italy's Jewish leaders have boldly condemned Vatican opposition to the Pride festivities.

Deborah Oakley-Melvin, World Pride's international director, told reporters that gays, lesbians, and their friends seem “all revved up.”

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