«Mr Mattiello was quoted by the daily La Repubblica as saying he had been sacked 11 days after his visit to the gay haunt but had only recently decided to take legal action.
Franco Grillini, an MP and honorary president of the gay rights group, Arcigay, said the incident was "in blatant violation of the most basic liberal values of contemporary Europe". Last month Mr Berlusconi's Europe minister, Rocco Buttiglione, was rejected as a candidate for the European commission after branding homosexuality a sin.
He has since set off a new controversy by hinting that his designated successor, the foreign minister, Franco Frattini, is a freemason. Mr Frattini is poised to take over the commission's justice and security portfolio. »