‘Disgraceful’: Italy’s senate votes down anti-homophobic violence bill

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11/04/2021

Italy’s senate has killed off a bill that would have made violence against LGBT people and disabled people, as well as misogyny, a hate crime. The 315-member senate voted by 154 to 131 on Wednesday to block the debate on the law, named after the gay centre-left Democratic party (PD) legislator Alessandro Zan and previously approved by the lower house of parliament in the face of months of protests from far-right and Catholic groups. Pina Picierno, a PD member of the European parliament, called the vote “one of the worst pages in the history of the Italian republic”. According to the far-right parties that voted against the bill in the upper house, the law would have suppressed freedom of expression and promoted “homosexual propaganda” in schools. Last June, the Vatican made an unprecedented intervention urging the Italian government to change the law over concerns it would infringe upon the Catholic church’s “freedom of thought”. Debate over the approval of the bill, which would lead to people convicted of such crimes being jailed for up to four years and permit an increase in funding for groups that work to fight against discrimination and assist people who are the victims of it, came after a series of high-profile attacks against gay and transgender people.

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