A gay couple from Naples, Italy, has been denied entry at a guest house in the southern region of Calabria because of their sexual orientation. The couple had booked a bed and breakfast in Santa Maria, a coastal village in the Vibo Valentia province.
However, when they contacted the owner for further information on the facility, they were told that the guest house accepted neither pets nor homosexuals.
"Thank you for your booking. This is the first year that we are renting [the guest house]," read a Whatsapp message the owner sent to the couple. "Apologies for seeming a caveman, but we do not accept gays or pets."
The couple contacted the Naples section of Arcigay, an Italian association that advocates for gay rights, to complain about the treatment.
One of the two men, identified only as G., told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that the treatment reminded him of discriminatory signs that denied access to Jews in shops during Nazi Germany.
"I did not even waste time to answer. I just took screenshots of the conversation and and I sent them to Arcigay Napoli," he explained. "It was the first thing that came to my mind: To sue speak out and not let them get away with it. I want so say everything, out loud."
The man explained he had revealed his homosexuality 12 years before and had been with his partner for seven years.
"After all this time, I refuse to be treated as if there was something wrong with me. It is not fair," he said.
"I was not upset just because of what happened to us. I thought about thousands of youths who could be subjected to the same treatment. It is a thought that hurt me too much."
Arcigay Napoli condemned the episode as a "grave act of discrimination and homophobia" and called for the exclusion of the guest house from holiday booking websites.
The couple cancelled the booking and rented a room at another facility in Calabria.