Gay couple attacked with petrol and ‘die in a gas chamber’ graffiti
A gay couple has had petrol thrown at them after unidentified attackers daubed Nazi-inspired graffiti on their home.
Angelo Amato and Andrea Gardoni, who live in Stallavena, a small town near Verona, Italy, had swastikas spray-painted on the side of their home along with anti-gay messages including: “We will put you all in the gas chambers.”
The attack took place amid a rising atmosphere of intolerance in the country, propelled by the recent entry of far-right party Northern League into a coalition government with the populist Five Star Movement.
Last month, Northern League leader Matteo Salvini, who serves as deputy prime minister and Interior Minister, called same-sex parents ‘unnatural’ and vowed to keep all families heterosexual.
The remark came after the country’s Families Minister, Northern League politician Lorenzo Fontana, said gay families ‘don’t exist’ legally in Italy.
When Amato, 59, and Gardoni, 23, heard noises outside last Wednesday (September 12), they thought it was their cat trying to come back inside, according to Italian local news outlet L’Arena.
Gardoni opened the door to see an unidentified attacker pouring petrol on his doorstep. Seeing him, the perpetrator threw some of the toxic liquid at his face.
The victim, feeling his eyes burning and fearing that he would go blind, went straight to the emergency room.
He was discharged with a clean bill of health, but the incident has left the couple shaken.
The messages left outside their home included one which read: “Burn faggots.” Their car’s tyres were also slashed and a swastika was emblazoned on the rear window.
The couple married in Spain because Italy, a strongly Catholic country, does not allow gay weddings, despite having legalised same-sex unions in 2015.
In a statement, the couple said: “Many have given us their support. And we need it: we are going through very difficult moments. So, thank you. Do not leave us alone.
“We would like to clarify, however, that the only statements we have issued and that we wish to report are those that have to do with the facts, which are objective and listed with precision in the various reports prepared by the Carabinieri [Italy’s military police force] of Grezzana and Verona.
“We have not, at this moment, issued any statement that goes beyond the chronicle of what we have experienced, wishing that the investigations are completed and that the culprits are identified and face the consequences of their ignoble actions,” they added.
Gabriele Piazzoni, national secretary of Italy’s largest LGBT+ group, Arcigay, called on those who oppose hatred to “mobilise.”
He said: “We are witnessing a very serious increase in violence in which anti-LGBT hatred takes on dramatic and absolutely alarming forms.
“The fascists are now out of control, legitimised by a policy that uses their own arguments and makes them strong.
“In a Republic that is based on an anti-Fascist constitution, all of this is unacceptable and is more than enough to motivate a firm and urgent intervention by the Government.
“Not only that: we ask the whole anti-Fascist community of this country to mobilise.”