Italy’s Senate Votes Against Anti-Gay Hate Crime Bill

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Centre-Left MP Alessandro Zan (left) had introduced the bill in the lower house in May 2018 to counter the growing number of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes that were happening in Italy.

Italy’s Senate has voted against a bill that would have made violence against LGBTQI people, women and people living with disabilities, a hate crime.

Of the 315 members in the Senate, around 135 senators voted in favour of the bill. But that was not enough as 154 senators voted to block any further debate on the bill that would have provided more protections for LGBTQIA+ people.

“The bill is dead,” Centre-Left MP Pina Picierno told Reuters, adding that the vote against the bill was “one of the worst pages in the history of the Italian republic”.

Parliament cannot reopen discussions on the proposed law for the next six months and with the legislature set to expire in early 2023 centre-left politicians think it will be impossible to approve the bill before then.

Anti-Gay Hate Crimes In Italy

The bill was introduced by and named after Centre-Left MP Alessandro Zan in the lower house in May 2018 to counter the growing number of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes that were happening in Italy.

According to gay rights group Arcigay, Italy records more than 100 hate crime and discrimination cases each year against LGBTQI people.

Since its introduction the bill has been opposed by far right wing parties and political groups. Earlier this year, the Vatican City sent a letter to the Italian government to protest the bill, claiming it would be an infringement on “freedom of thought”.

Far-Right Parties, Vatican Opposed The Bill

Far-right parties justified voting against the bill in the upper house, by claiming that the law would have suppressed freedom of expression and promoted “homosexual propaganda” in schools.

“The arrogance of [Democratic Party leader] Letta has been punished,” tweeted far right politician Matteo Salvini, who has long rallied against the bill. He rejected any dialogue and any proposal for change from families, associations, the Pope and exponents of the LGBT and feminist world.”

Italy did pass same-sex civil unions in 2016, but attempts to pass laws that protect gay and trans people from hate crimes have been thwarted by right wing parties and the Catholic Church for more than three decades.

According to Rainbow Europe, Italy ranks 35th out of 49 European countries in regard to protection measures for LGBTQI people.

Democratic Party leader and former Italian PM Enrico Letta said he regrets the decision the Senate has made but the LGBTQI community in Italy should not give up hope.

“They wanted to halt the future. They wanted to bring Italy back. Yes, they and their dirtiness have won in the Senate today. But the country is on another side. And soon we will see it.”

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

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