Voters in Sicily late last month
elected their first openly gay governor, Rosario Crocetta, who
assumed office on Friday.
Crocetta is Italy's second openly gay
governor. The southern region of Apulia first voted in Nichi Vendola
However, Crocetta, a devout Catholic,
has been knocked in the press for not publicly advocating for greater
rights for the gay community, in particular marriage.
Unlike Vendola, who has said he would
like the right to marry his partner, Crocetta said during the
campaign that he would refrain from sex, if elected.
“If I were to become Sicily's
president, I would say farewell to sex to consider myself married to
my region and its inhabitants,” he said. “Leading public affairs
is like entering a convent, and I have also become too old for such
In conservative Sicily, the comment was
viewed as reinforcing negative stereotypes.
“He is ready to refrain from sexual
intercourse in order to distance himself from the stereotypical
promiscuous homosexual lifestyle,” Paola Bonesu, a political
communication consultant, is quoted as saying by The