Ban of children’s books in Venice sparks gay rights debate

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Mayor Luigi Brugnaro of Venice proposed to ban 49 books from preschool libraries  // Photo by Mattia Balsamini for The New York Times

One of the first formal acts of Venice’s new conservative mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, was to announce that he would ban 49 children’s books from the city’s preschool libraries.

The books included the story of a male dog who aspired to be a ballerina; a tale about a little boy who wanted to be a princess, and a princess who wanted to be a soccer player; and the real-life story of the penguin egg hatched and adopted by two male penguins.

After an outcry, he shortened the list of banned books to just two. Both books touch on “same-sex families living happily ever after,” The New York Times reports.

The mayor’s actions ignited a debate about the right of educators to choose their teaching tools without political interference, and about Italy’s continuing struggle with broadening civil rights for gays. Italy is one of the few major European countries that does not legally recognize same-sex unions.

Learn more at The New York Times

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