The Italian parliament is going to vote on a bill banning gay hate crimes, but the LGBT community has called it the ‘worst law ever’.
The bill to reform existing antidiscrimination legislation is scheduled for debate in the lower chamber tomorrow (26 July).
According to Italian activists, opinion leaders and reporters, the law being discussed is possibly the worst solution for the recent homophobic attacks.
‘This is going to be a homophobic law, the result of a compromise between the left-wing Democratic Party and a homophobic party, the right-wing PDL,’ renowned Italian journalist Tommaso Cerno told Gay Star News.
‘Italian LGBT people, the community, don’t want this law.’
Cerno, who defines himself ‘a single homosexual’, wrote long articles on this issue on his magazine, L’Espresso, one of the pillars of the left-wing journalism in Italy.
He said: ‘The right-wing parties fear the rules on the anti-gay propaganda, saying it will deny their freedom of speech.
‘But discrimination and hate are not opinions which deserve a protection. The insults can not be protected.’
Human Right’s Watch’s Judith Sunderland explained to GSN how the bill would amend a pillar of Italy’s anti-discrimination legislation, the Mancino Law of 1993.
‘The aim is to make it an offense to instigate or commit discrimination or acts of violence on the grounds of "homophobia or transphobia",’ she said.
‘Existing Italian law prohibits such acts on the grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion.
‘The bill had initially envisioned increasing penalties for crimes committed with the aggravating circumstance of hatred based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
She added 400 amendments were proposed, most designed to weaken or effectively annul the measures, so the enhanced penalty provision in the bill was dropped to reach a compromise.
But the law against gay hate is not the only project on the table, as the Italian parliament has also discussed several bills on civil partnerships or civil unions.
According to Cerno, regarding the worldwide debate on gay marriage, Italy should follow the ‘winds of change’ coming from Northern Europe and the United States of America.
He said: ‘In these countries, the right-wing parties and the conservatives have understood that, basically, the institute of marriage is in a deep crisis.
‘So, they have understood that the only way to save marriage is opening it to gay couples as well.
‘So, it should be the Catholic Church’s aim as well: allowing LGBT people to marry is the only way to make marriage survive.’