CATANIA - A Sicilian court has condemned road authorities for suspending the driving licence of a man after finding out he was gay.
The court said being gay was merely "a personality disturbance" and not a psychiatric illness, and had no bearing on a person’s ability to drive.
The 23-year-old man, who was identified only as Danilo G, got into trouble with road authorities in the city of Catania after they discovered he had been exempted from military service because he was gay.
The authorities suspended his driving licence ahead of further evaluation of his "suitability" to take the wheel.
The man’s lawyer, Giuseppe Lipera, denounced the move as "utterly scandalous and offensive" and has demanded 500,000 ($890,472) in damages.
"Danilo is deeply perturbed by what has happened. He has lost his hair and is suffering shock," Lipera was quoted as saying.
In a written ruling released yesterday, the Sicilian court said: "It is clear that sexual preferences do not in any way influence a person’s ability to drive motor cars safely."
The judges added that homosexuality "cannot be considered a true and proper psychiatric illness, being a mere personality disturbance".
Homosexuality is legal in Italy, but openly anti-gay comments in public from politicians and officials rarely cause a stir.