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SEL walks out over Northern League 'sodomite' jibe in House

Legislators leave in protest over slur

30 July, 17:21
SEL walks out over Northern League 'sodomite' jibe in House (ANSA) - Rome, July 30 - Elected members from the Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) party walked out of the Lower House in protest Tuesday after a Northern League member claimed they represented a ''sodomite lobby''.

Gianluca Buonanno of the Northern League, a group in continual hot water over some members' racist political statements, accused the SEL of representing ''the sodomite lobby''.

Elected members of SEL, whose leader Nichi Vendola is gay, said that Buonanno's comment insulted parliament as well as party members.

''We will leave this House whenever Buonanno uses insulting remarks that offend not only homosexuals, but Parliament and its institutions'', said the SEL.

Erasmo Palazzolo of the SEL said his colleagues would not return until the House officials censure Buonanno.

Ettore Rosato of the Democratic Party denounced what he called the ''indecent'' attitude of the Northern League which has been associated with several racist comments against Italy's first black cabinet minister.

Northern League Deputy Senate Speaker Roberto Calderoli is being investigated for aggravated defamation and incitement of racial hatred for comparing Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge to an orangutan.

Calderoli made the comparison, which he called ''a joke'', during a rally for the anti-immigrant Northern League at a festival near his home city of Bergamo.

And earlier this spring Mario Borghezio, who was an Italian member of the European Parliament where he represented the League, apologized for racist comments he made about Kyenge.

''I feel I must express my apologies to the minister,'' he said.