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Italian senate votes against bill to protect LGBTQs against discrimination

Right-wing politicians are seen in video footage cheering as the bill was defeated on Wednesday (27 October)

2021-10-29

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels

Italian lawmakers have voted down a bill that would have protected LGBTQ people against discrimination.

The bill, killed on Wednesday (27 October), would have meant hate crimes against LGBTQ people would be criminalised, as well as against women and minorities such as people with disabilities.

It was defeated in the Italian parliament by 154 votes to 131.

"One of the worst pages in the history of the Italian republic"

The law was nicknamed the ‘Zan Bill’, after being introduced by centre-left MP Alessandro Zan in the Senate’s lower house.

Disappointingly, the bill was passed through Italy’s lower house in November 2020 before being rejected by the upper house (as per the Independent).

Footage shows right-wing politicians who had been against the bill cheering as it died on the senate floor.

The defeat was described by Pina Picierno, a member of the Democratic Party, as "one of the worst pages in the history of the Italian republic," adding that fear had won.

Opponents of the law, such as the right-wing parties the Northern League and the Brothers of Italy, argued the law would have inhibited free speech and promoted a "homosexual propaganda."

The Vatican has also expressed opposition along the same lines.

At present, the country’s penal code criminalises discrimination based on racial, ethnic, national or religious lines, with punishments including an 18-month prison sentence, four years for a violent crime or a €6,000 fine.

ILGA Europe reported "a growing number of hate crimes" in Italy in its review of the country’s LGBTQ record for 2020, with 138 incidents recorded. Italy also came in 35th place in ILGA’s annual Rainbow Map, which measures a country’s ranking on LGBTQ issues.

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