Vice President Al Gore did not bother to answer the letter in which a dozen or so prominent Italian pro-family leaders, intellectuals, and politicians called for him to withdraw his endorsement of the recent World Gay Pride parade in Rome (see “Letter From Rome,” August), but he did respond to a similar message from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. On June 1, William Donohue, president of the League, sent a letter to Gore asking him to renounce his support for the parade and urging him to demand that the event be moved or delayed, since its venue and timing were chosen to offend the Roman Catholic Church.

Although Italians do not vote in U.S. presidential elections, Americans do, and this time Gore replied. In a letter dated July 3, Gore said that he would not rethink his position. Despite his respect for the Catholic Church, he believed that the larger issue was one of “tolerance.” “Just as I will stand by you whenever you are working to fight intolerance on religious grounds, I also believe we need to be tolerant when it comes to sexual orientation as well,” wrote Gore.

Donohue replied that his letter to the Vice President was occasioned by the intolerance toward Roman Catholicism displayed by the leaders of the World Gay Pride march. He added that Gore is so wedded to the radical homosexual agenda that he did not bother to comment on what the lesbian president of Circolo Mario Mieli, the main organizer of the event, said of the Pope: “F—you.” In Donohue’s opinion, “Gore’s letter demonstrates how selective his commitment to tolerance really is.”

The parade, held on July 8, featured an impressive lineup of anti-Christian and communist militants. The participants ranged from the heads of the three rumps of the old Italian Communist Party and eco-terrorists to anarcho-communists and Marco Pannella and Emma Bonino, two leaders of the Radical Party and trailblazers of the homosexual-rights movement. High-ranking Muslim and Masonic representatives were also present.

Despite triumphant claims, the march was a flop. Two years of groundwork, virtually unlimited funds, favorable media coverage, and the formal support of a vast array of prominent international figures produced a parade through ancient Rome totaling only 70,000 people, according to the official figure released by Questura di Roma (Rome’s police headquarters). The fact that many of the participants were simply fellow travelers meant that the actual number of homosexuals converging on Rome from around the world was much, much lower.

The media’s bias could be gauged by their ridiculously inflated crowd estimates, ranging from 200,000 to 500,000. The Reuters online newswire was a notable exception; its report mentioned “thousands of homosexuals” marching through Rome. Even the official figure was probably an exaggeration: Italy’s communist- dominated government openly sided with the homosexual activists.

The event’s flop infuriated the parade’s organizers and their leftist sponsors, who blamed their failure on an anti-parade backlash triggered by grassroots pro-family groups. The secular newsmagazine L’Espresso reported that the gay-pride march was officially announced in early 2000 amid a calm, debate-free atmosphere, which radically changed within a few months. L’Espresso also noted that the confrontation between supporters and opponents of the parade had taken on crusading overtones.

The anti-gay-pride protests were made possible by the Italian parliament’s failure to pass a bill outlawing any form of “politically incorrect” opposition under the pretext of fighting discrimination based on “sexual orientation.” A Dutch gay-rights group demonstrated how the homosexual lobby will use this type of legislation, by announcing plans to sue the Pope on the grounds that his harsh comments in the aftermath of a recent international gay-rights demonstration constituted an incitement to hatred and discrimination.

Walter Veltroni, the leader of the communist-rump Left Democrats, has insisted on the need to enforce a law “introducing or extending” the ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation. Veltroni’s stance was echoed in even stronger terms by the president of Circolo Mario Mieli. Mario Mieli was a communist and homosexual who committed suicide when he was 31. Corriere della Sera‘s weekly supplement “Sette” has described him as an “intransigent marxist” with “an absolute sense of transgression . . . He wanted to destroy society’.” La Repubblica, a pro-homosexual paper, reports that Midi’s family was compelled to put him in a mental hospital after they found out that, in London (where Mieli had joined the Gay Liberation Front), he used to wear a fur coat with no clothes underneath and ask policemen to let him kiss them.

Mieli’s most famous book, Elementi di critica omosessuale (1977), stressed, according to the Catholic news agency Corrispondenza Romana, “the importance of homosexual liberation as part of human emancipation.” Mieli believed that “the full disinhibition of homoerotic tendencies is a prerequisite . . . for the establishment of communism.” Mieli even considered as “enemies” those homosexuals who were reluctant to make their private lives public. Moreover, he argued that the triumph of the homosexual agenda would help bring about Marxist revolution: “the gradual liberation of the other suppressed tendencies of Eros will further strengthen the revolutionary movement.”

Mieli did not simply propound these theories; he lived them. As La Repubblica reported, he toured Italy staging performances in which he “elegantly ate feces with his fingers and then drank his own urine, produced on the spot, in a close-up scene.”

Does Gore’s support of the gay-pride parade’s organizers entail endorsing this “alternative” culinary habit? And does the Vice President agree with what former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell did during her concert in the Tor di Valle horseracing complex? While singing, she was approached by a white-clad dancer playing the Pope, who knelt down and hugged her hips in a sexual posture. Halliwell has also made a video in which she appears dressed as a nun. But the former “Ginger Spice” is no longer only a singer: She has been appointed roving U.N. Population Fund Goodwill Ambassador, from which position she promotes safe sex and the wider use of condoms. Does Gore support her innovative approach to diplomacy, insulting and mocking the head of a sovereign state?

Before Americans go to the polls on November 7, they might want to know the Vice President’s answers to these questions.