Venice mayor bans gay children's books, drawing ire of British singer Elton John

British singer-songwriter Elton John performs with his band during a concert in Gijon, Spain, on July 17, 2015.Reuters

The mayor of the Italian city of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, has banned gay children's books in his city, drawing the ire of award-winning "Candle in the Wind" singer Elton John, who is a married bisexual and has been a strong supporter of the LGBT social movement.

John poked fun of the "extremely silly looking mayor of Venice" for banning books such as "The Family Book" written by Todd Parr, which champions families of all shapes, sizes, colours, and even gender.

"He's stupidly chosen to politicise children's books by banning titles that touch on same sex families living happily ever after," John wrote on his Instagram page (@eltonjohn). "So instead of encouraging a world based on inclusiveness, tolerance and love, he's championing a future society that's divisive and fosters ignorance. Beautiful Venice is indeed sinking, but not as fast as the boorishly bigoted Brugnaro."

But the mayor of Venice is not taking John's jabs without a fight. "Dear Elton John, I have no problem with homosexuals," he tweeted.

Brugano also took a swipe against John, saying he "represented the arrogance of someone who is rich and can do whatever they want." The mayor encouraged him to contribute more to the city since he owns a house there.

The mayor said he is "a free man" who is not afraid of insults. He defended his decision to ban the books Ophelie Texier's "Jean a deux mamans," which translated in English means "Jean has two mummies," and Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell's "And Tango Makes Three," saying that majority of Venice locals still uphold the traditional family.

"I have to think about the majority of families where there is a mother and a father," he said.