The 20th annual GLBT Pride parade took place in Rome on Saturday, June 7, 2014 with thousands of people participating in the parade as it wound its way through Rome. Starting near the Termni station in Central Rome and ending near the colosseum, this year at the front of the parade was Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino.
He used the occasion to announce that a registry for civil unions would soon be a reality in Rome and Rome would become the second Italy to recognize marriages from other countries. For some people it might come as a surprise that the Mayor of the city that surrounds the Vatican would come out in favor of such a notion, however it didn’t come as a surprise to me.
Before he was a politician, Dr. Marino was an organ transplant specialist. He performed the first kidney transplant on an HIV positive person in Italy. It was very controversial and the authorities prevented him from doing anymore procedures until they had time to study the problem. When I asked Dr. Marino about the first patient he told me that he was alive and doing well. With justifiable pride he said, “He came to me as a boy and now he is a young man.” When I told him that admired the courage it took to do that first transplant he said, “You have to do what is in your heart.” So it doesn’t surprise me at all that he follows his heart in politics also.