Italy's new minister of families and disabilities holds a very limited definition of a "family."
"They don’t exist at the moment, as far as the law is concerned," Fontana responded. The right-wing politician, who also promised to reduce the number of abortions in Italy, added, "I am Catholic, I do not hide it. That’s why I believe the family is the natural one, where a child must have a mother and a father."
In Italy, it is illegal for children to be adopted or fostered by same-sex parents. However, some families, through in vitro fertilization or adoption of stepchildren, have obtained formal recognition by the government. Same-sex unions were legally recognized in 2016, but the country has yet to embrace marriage equality.
In reaction to Fontana's remarks, LGBT families flooded the politician's media accounts with the message "We exist." Many encouraged donations to Arcigay, an Italian LGBT rights group. On Monday, Fontana also became the target of hackers, who inserted language for erectile dysfunction ads in the Google search description of his website.
This is not the first time Fontana has made anti-LGBT remarks. The politician, speaking at a recent anti-abortion rally called the Festival for Life, said same-sex marriage would "wipe out our community and our traditions."
Despite this track record, Fontana told Corriere della Sera that he is not homophobic. "I have many homosexual friends. After all. I lived in Brussels for many years where many gay people hold positions in institutions," he said.
According to Gay Star News, Fontana is a fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a member of the right-wing Northern League party. He was appointed as a minister following a chaotic March election in which none of Italy's political parties emerged with a majority. A coalition of parties, helmed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, merged to form Western Europe's first populist government.