Christmas lights cause furor in Rome after rainbow colors used for anti-homophobia message

Picture of Christmas lights taken in the Via del Corso, one of the main shopping street of Rome, on December 6, 2013. This year the illuminations are "gay-friendly" with a rainbow of colors enveloping the street. The six strips that change color from red to purple, symbol of the traditional "rainbow flag" and an expression of the homosexual movement, will make up the bright carpet of a mile and a half to get to Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo. After the tricolor of 2011, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, and those white monochrome of 2012, Rome wants to send a message and stand in the front row as the capital of rights.  AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYSGABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

The lights were chosen by the local council as a stand against homophobia, following the recent suicide of a gay teenager in the Eternal City.

Mile-long rainbow-flag themed Christmas lights that were planned as an anti-homophobic message following the suicide of a gay teen are causing a divide in Rome.

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It is supposed to be a time of peace and understanding – but not in the Italian capital.

A huge row has broken out in Rome over “gay” Christmas lights, reports Agence France-Presse.

A rainbow-flag theme has been selected for the traditional lights along the city’s main shopping street, the Via del Corso. The lights run for almost a mile long.

Now the company which put the lights up said the rainbow-colored theme would be dedicated to former South African president and anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela.

Now the company which put the lights up said the rainbow-colored theme would be dedicated to former South African president and anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela.

The lights were chosen by the local council as a stand against homophobia, following the recent suicide of a gay teenager in the Eternal City.

“That is how we came up with the rainbow flag idea,” said councilor Imma Battaglia, who also heads up a gay rights campaign group.

But that decision has not gone down well with everyone, reports AFP.

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