RAI provokes gay rights protest

Quizshow host was questioned about his sexuality

ROME — Italian gay rights advocacy groups are up in arms against RAI after the popular host of gameshow “Affari Tuoi,” the local version of “Deal or No Deal,” revealed he had been asked whether he was gay during an audition at the pubcaster.

Remarks about the incident by the gameshow host, Flavio Isinna, have sparked formal protests from members of parliament and gay rights activists, just as a political debate is raging over a draft law that proposes to legalize civil unions of gay couples in this Catholic country. The proposed law by Italy’s center-left government has been condemned by Pope Benedict XVI.

“The issue of discrimination against homosexuals at RAI is a pressing one that needs to be resolved at all levels, from equal opportunity in the workplace to equal time in the news,” said leftist MP Franco Grillini, head of gay rights group Arcigay.

RAI has actually taken quite a progressive stance lately. Last week a brouhaha broke out in parliament over its upcoming skein “Un Medico in famiglia” (A Doctor in the Family), which will feature two doctors living together as a couple, the first time a gay couple is depicted on the pubcaster.

The new version of the popular series has been slammed by members of Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative bloc who have asked that it be pulled before its scheduled March playdate.

Right-wing MP Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, complained that RAI was trying to “brainwash” people with the message “that a normal family is composed of two people of the same sex.”

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