Dancing in Streets called 'Offense to Christian Values'
Same-Sex Lovemaking Against Natural Law, He Says
By Jack Nichols
Rome, Italty--Gays from around the world filled the streets of Rome during the weekend in a happy festival estimated by U.S. participants to be a half million dancing in the streets, openly celebrating lives of joy and besting the forces of neo-fascism and a furious Roman Catholic Pope.
“The parade went off without a hint of violence or confrontation,” the Stonewall-era pioneer, Sylvia Rivera, told GayToday, “but it was an expression of seven hours of joy and love that, because of its size and exultation, could scarcely keep moving against the sunlit background of the ancient Ruins of Rome. Regimentation disappeared, with no marshals, no police. Only the beauty of our community remained.”
Rivera, a New Yorker, traveled to Italy with her lover, Julia Murray-Rivera, as a guest of MIT, a major transgendered organization. She rode atop a float that carried “dozens of beautiful Queens and their admirers.”
She could find nothing positive to say, however, about Pope John Paul II's sudden Sunday condemnation of World Pride 2000 as “an offense to Christian values,” or of same-sex love-making as “against natural law.”
The Pope's widely publicized remarks, nevertheless, drew a immediate rebuke from Italy's gay activists who charged that the Vatican's hostile stance is fueling Roman Catholics' hateful homophobia everywhere.
Most distressing to some about Pope John Paul's negative references to same-sex love was his perception: his seeing a moral battle between Roman Catholics (good guys) and gays and lesbians (the forces of evil.) He insisted that the Roman Catholic Church must “not keep quiet about the truth” and that Roman Catholics are duty-bound to “distinguish between good and evil.”
The Roman Catholic Church has condemned homosexuality as “intrinsically evil.”
Arcigay, Italy's outspoken activist organization, issued a statement rebutting the Pope's public attacks on the worldwide gay and lesbian community:
“The real offence is the homophobia and the anti-gay prejudice which is fuelled by the Vatican hierarchy. The Pope is mistaken when he says homosexuality is unnatural. Who decides what is natural and what is not? 'Objectively disordered' -- what does that mean?”
Bob Kunst, Miami's veteran activist for gay and Jewish causes, and a long-time AIDS activist, told GayToday:
Kunst had met briefly with the Pope in the late 1980s at the first Vatican AIDS Conference and had given him a “Cure AIDS Now” button printed in Italian. Kunst was quoted by the New York Times: “This has been the worst AIDS conference I've ever attended. It's been three days of gay bashing.”