Italian senate rejects anti-homophobia hate crime bill

The new laws would have offered protection for LGBTQ+ people, along with women and people with disabilities.

Members of the Italian senate celebrate as new anti-homophobia hate crime bill is rejected.
Image: Twitter: @EnricoLetta

The Italian senate has voted against introducing a new bill that would have worked to tackle homophobic hate crime in the country. 131 members of parliament voted in favour of the legislation on Wednesday, October 27, but 154 voted against it, therefore rejecting the bill.

The proposal sought to offer further protection for LGBTQ+ folk, women, and people with disabilities, by extending Italian hate crime legislation to cover these marginalised groups. The bill known as ‘ddl Zan’, was first birthed by gay Democratic Party lawmaker Alessandro Zan in May 2018 and had previously been approved by the Chamber of Deputies.

Following the vote, Zan took to Twitter, and said that “A political pact was betrayed that wanted the country to take a step towards civilisation.”

Other politicians who have expressed their frustration over the rejection of the hate crime bill include former Italian prime minister and leader of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, stating that the opposition “Wanted to stop the future. They wanted to bring Italy back in history.” 

According to Rome’s Gay Centre, they receive over 20,000 reports of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people per year, with 9% of cases being classed as severe. Had this new bill passed by the Italian senate, prison sentences of up to four years would have been introduced for perpetrators of homophobic hate crimes.

Among those campaigning against the new law was The Vatican, expressing concerns surrounding “freedom of expression” and the promotion of “homosexual propaganda” in schools. Far-right political leader of the League party, Matteo Salvini, said that with this vote, “The arrogance of the PD and M5S [the parties that introduced the bill] has been defeated.”

He also suggested that MPs should start brainstorming new ideas “from the League’s proposals” that would help “to fight discrimination leaving out gender theory and crimes of opinion and protecting freedom of education.” 

Bloomberg reports that any new proposals aiming to fight LGBTQ+ hate crimes could take years to receive full approval.

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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