When Arcigay, the Italian LGBT rights organization, came to the coastal city of Ortona last week to circulate a petition on marriage equality, they were met by hostile and disturbing anti-gay murals, leaflets, and advertising, Gay Star News reports. The source of the homophobic propaganda is the far-right Italian nationalist party Forza Nuova. Posters, such as the one below, proclaim the party’s campaign slogan in bold letters: “Italy needs sons and daughters, not homosexuals.”

forza nuova Far Right Italian Party Launches Homophobic Ad Campaign

marco forconi 292x300 Far Right Italian Party Launches Homophobic Ad CampaignResponding to criticism from LGBT rights groups across Italy, the regional cooordinator for Forza Nuova, Marco Forconi, defended his party’s bigotry.

“We think that homosexuality is an illness, and that it is disgusting,” he said. “But ours is a reaction against the proposal of gay marriage, not against homosexuality in itself. We are not homophobic, but we think that being gay or lesbian is not normal.”

Jonathan – Diritti in Movimento, the main LGBT organization in Italy’s Abruzzo region, noted in a press release that Forza Nuova’s anti-gay propaganda carries disturbing echoes of the nation’s fascist past:

“This is like Fascism and it remembers Mussolini’s call for more sons and daughters.

This is gay hate and we can not tolerate it any more. We are asking the better Italy [pro-LGBT Italians] to react and to understand that LGBT people’s rights are everyone’s rights.”