June 13 - Lady Gaga calls on governments to respect gay rights at Rome's Europride parade. Kathi Urban reports.
(SOUNDBITE) Lady Gaga, saying (English): "Today and every day we fight for freedom. We fight for justice. We beckon for compassion, understanding and above all we want full equality now." Lady Gaga called on governments to defend gay rights at the Europride parade in Rome on the weekend. Hundreds of thousands of people attended the event outside the Italian capital's Circus Maximus to see the "Born This Way" star. Gaga, who was dressed in spectacular fashion by Italian designer Gianni Versace, singled out several governments in Europe and the Middle East who she said discriminated against gays. (SOUNDBITE) Lady Gaga, saying (English): "And I ask governments with you, worldwide, to facilitate our dream of equality. Help us stand together peacefully, please do not divide us. I am aware and respectful of religious histories and books, I am compassionate towards young people and families who sacredly honour their lineage. But I am asking the world simply: acknowledge the change." Rome officials had feared the singer would also launch a direct attack on Pope Benedict and the Vatican over their stand against homosexual acts but she mentioned neither of the two. Some demonstrators say they hope this kind of celebrity support will help in the fight to end discrimination for homosexuals. (SOUNDBITE) Luigi Paolo, saying (Italian): "For many families sometimes it is easier to believe idols, wealthy icons, rather than supporting years and years of battle. She (LADY GAGA) might represent a faster solution of the problem, reaching the heart of people in all the families." (SOUNDBITE) Lavinia Bruzetti, saying (Italian): "I think it is obvious that people from showbiz stand for gay rights, it such a universal thing. I think it is odd that she was the only one who came." While Gaga continues to dominate the global charts with her music, the singer has used her public profile several times in the past to support worthy causes. She was recently named by Forbes magazine as the most powerful celebrity in the world. Kathi Urban, Reuters.