A bill eyeing to criminalize violence against LGBT people was approved in Italy’s lower house of parliament. It now needs final approval from upper house before becoming law.
Italy’s lower house of parliament passed an anti-discrimination bill that makes violence committed against LGBT people and disabled people a hate crime. The bill actually modifies an existing law punishing racist violence, hatred and discrimination; with people convicted of such crimes facing up to four years in jail.
Approved by 265 votes to 193, with one abstention, the legislation now needs final approval from the upper house, where it is backed by the ruling coalition parties.
The bill actually only originally focused on tackling offenses involving homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. But it was eventually expanded to also offer protections to people with disability.
The bill did not exactly pass without opposition, particularly from right-wing parties, conservative groups and the Italian Catholic Church. Among the contentious elements was the bill’s proposal to observe the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on 17 May every year, with initiatives and ceremonies in Italian schools.
As reported by Arcigay, one of the biggest LGBTQIA organizations in Italy, there are more than 100 hate crime and discrimination cases reported in the country each year. But over the last 25 years, numerous attempts to create a law to punish acts of homophobia and transphobia have failed.