Lower House of Parliament passes hate crime legislation in Italy

Hate crime legislation protecting queer people, women, and people with disabilities has passed the first stage of parliament in Italy.

A person wearing a rainbow mask, lawmakers in Italy have recently passed hate crime legislation into next stage

The Lower House of Parliament in Italy have passed proposed hate crime legislation protecting women, people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community from discriminatory actions and speech.

On Wednesday, November 4, the bill was approved by 265 votes to 193 in the member chamber. It will now move into the Upper House Senate before becoming law.

The bill legislates hatred and violence towards women, people with disabilities and queer people as a hate crime along with a longer prison sentence for those found guilty. It can be seen as an amendment to an existing law punishing offences based on someone’s race or religion with up to four years in jail.

Member of Italian Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, wrote on Twitter, “The Chamber of Deputies approves the bill against transphobia and misogyny. Now the bill switches to the Senate. We must not let go. Let society breathe: let’s free it from the poisons of hatred and fear!”

Leading advocate for hate crime legislation in Italy and openly gay lawmaker, Alessandro Zan, titled the move as “a big step forward against discrimination, hatred and violence.”

In the lead up to Parliament debating the proposed legislation, thousands took part in a protest across Italy to show their support for the bill. Around 70,000 people also signed a petition by All Out calling for legal protections against transphobia, homophobia and misogyny.

Three people with signs supporting hate crime legislation in Italy
All Out Instagram

All Out’s senior campaign manger in Italy, Yuri Guaiana stated, “Italy needs an effective law that protects women and LGBT+ people from discrimination and violence. The time has come to fight hatred. The time has come for Italy to follow the example of other European countries. Time is up: the Parliament must approve a serious and effective law now.”

Highlighting the necessity for this bill, research from the European Agency for Fundamental Rights on LGBTQ+ people in Italy showed 62% of respondents avoid taking their loved ones by the hand and 30% do not go to certain places for fear of being attacked. A further 23% claim to have suffered discrimination at work.

According to the research, 32% have suffered at least one episode of harassment in the last year and 8% one episode of physical aggression in the last five years. Only one in six people reported these incidents to the police.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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