Two gay couples were denied entry into a beach party because they were gay.
This past Saturday, 37-year-old Guiseppe Pitirollo and 28-year-old Daniele Bauilio were enjoying dinner with friends. While they dined in Bacoli, Italy, they could hear dance music from the nearby beach.
The two sets of couples decided to walk over and see if they could join the festivities but were soon outraged to find that they could not.
Once they’d reached the party at the Lido Turisitco Beach Park, they were told that only straight couples were allowed.
“The guy at the door told us we couldn’t as we were not with women and the event was couples-only," Giuseppe told Gay Star News.
“The bouncer replied a couple is only made of a woman and a man,” Giuseppe claimed.
Then, the owner of the venue joined the argument and denied the couples entry with the excuse that they were drunk.
Giuseppe and Daniele then tried to to prove that they were completely sober to no success. After being denied again, the men left and went to the central police station to report the incident.
“We felt humiliated. They diminished us in front of other people,” lamented Giuseppe. “Seeing our rights being denied in such a blatant way was just shameful.”
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Italy, but civil unions are. The law was passed in 2016, but there’s still some stigma towards gay romance.
News of the situation quickly spread as Italian Senator Monica Cirinnà, who also penned the same-sex union bill, told the Italian news source La Repubblica, ‘If true, this would be a very serious incident.”
The venue then later released a statement saying that the men were using their sexuality to exploit the party and those involved.
“Some exploit their sexual orientation to blame other people. We’re respectful of every choice, but we reserve the right to refuse anyone entry if they’re not in line with our policy of kindness and respect to others,” wrote owner Luciano Santini.