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Italy debates gay hate crime bill

Italy debates gay hate crime bill

Italy’s Chamber of Deputies (lower house) began debating a bill that would criminalize homophobia this afternoon.

Yesterday the bill was given approval to be debated and voted on by a parliamentary commission, with support from Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s center-left Democratic Party (PD), center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party and the Left Ecology Freedom party (SEL), Ansa reports.

Some Catholic members of the PdL, the party founded by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, are opposed to the bill and say that it could curtail freedom of speech.

The Catholic church vocally condemns homosexuality and right-wing Catholic politicians could block the passage of this bill, the first anti-discrimination bill in Italy since 1993.

PD party secretary Dario Franceschini said the bill is ‘urgent and cannot be delayed any longer’.

Earlier this month Rete Lenford from a pro-gay lawyers’ group criticized the first draft of the bill for not including protection of trans people from discrimination