Openly gay singer Elton John, who is raising two boys with his husband, has criticized the mayor of Venice for banning gay-inclusive children's books.

Shortly after taking office in June, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro removed 49 books from Venice's classrooms. After more than 250 Italian authors protested by asking for their books to be withdrawn in solidarity, Brugnaro shortened the list of banned books to two: Little Egg by Francesca Pardi and Jean Has Two Moms by Ophelie Texier, both of which deal with same-sex families.

In an Instagram post, John praised Todd Parr's The Family Book and criticized Brugnaro, calling him “bigoted.”

“Here is one of the Furnish-John family's favourite storybooks,” John wrote in the photo's caption. “It champions an all-inclusive world where families come in all shapes, sizes and colours. And most importantly, that families are about love. Our boys adore it.”

“And in the opposing corner we have Luigi Brugnaro, the extremely silly looking mayor of Venice. He's stupidly chosen to politicise children's books by banning titles that touch on same sex families living happily ever after.”

“So instead of encouraging a world based on inclusiveness, tolerance and love, he's championing a future society that's divisive and fosters ignorance.”

“Beautiful Venice is indeed sinking, but not as fast as the boorishly bigoted Brugnaro.”

Brugnaro responded to the controversy on Twitter with, “In Venice, we definitely won't risk creating sexual confusion for those under three. We respect children's growth” and “absolute respect for the choices of homosexuals … the children have nothing to do with it.”