Italian LGBTQ+ hate crime bill defeated

ROME – Italian senators passed a law criminalizing violence and hate speech against LGBTQ + people in Italy.

The Italian lower house had already approved the bill, which was supported by the left-wing Democrats, the anti-establishment five-star movement and the radical left-wing Free and Equal Party. But the so-called Zan Law – named after its creator, LGBTQ + right-wing activist and Democratic MP Alessandro Zan – encountered opposition from right-wing parties and conservative Catholics.

Opponents claimed the measure restricted freedom of expression and anchored gender theory – the concept that gender differences are created socially – in law. They also rejected a clause providing for the establishment of an anti-homophobia day in schools. Even the Vatican interfered in the debate by writing to the Italian Foreign Ministry that the bill could violate a historic treaty with Italy that protects Catholics’ freedom of expression and organization.

The right-wing coalition had proposed an alternative bill that would make homophobia an aggravating factor in violent crime, but that would not protect transgender people. After the negotiations on a compromise failed at the last minute, the right-wing parties planned an anonymous vote to prevent the bill from advancing in the Senate.

This voice passed on Wednesday by a majority of 23 votes, effectively killing the bill.

Right-wing MPs stood cheering and clapping after the result of the vote announced.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the Conservative League party, celebrated the victory and proclaimed that the left-wing parties that supported the law had been arrogant. He suggested that MPs should go back to the drawing board and formulate a new draft law “from the League’s proposals” to combat discrimination, rule out gender theories and crimes of opinion and protect freedom of education.

Licia Ronzulli, senator of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, accused the left of being too inflexible in its ideologies.

“We could have done something good together, but they wanted an ideological law that divides parliament,” she said.

However, supporters branded the situation as a missed opportunity. on TwitterZan blamed Matteo Renzi’s centrist Italia Viva party, which had supported the bill in the lower house but later sided with the opponents.

“The responsibilities are clear,” he said. “A political agreement that would have brought the land one step closer to civilization has been betrayed.”

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