ROME, ITALY – (10-28-21) – Italy’s Senate has ignited outrage over the 315-member body voting down an anti-homophobic violence Bill. The anti-Homophobic Bill that was voted down by a vote of 154-131, would have made violence against LGBT people and disabled people, as well as misogyny, a hate crime.

The 315-member senate voted by 154 to 131 on Wednesday to block debate on the anti-homophobic law named after the gay center-left Democratic party (PD) legislator Alessandro Zan.

The bill had previously been approved by the lower house of parliament in the face of a coordinated campaign of protests by far-right and Catholic groups.

Pina Picierno, a PD member of the European parliament, called the vote “one of the worst pages in the history of the Italian republic”.

The far-right parties that voted against the bill in the upper house on Wednesday defended their vote by claiming the law would have suppressed freedom of expression and promoted “homosexual propaganda” in schools.

Although Italy approved same-sex civil unions in 2016, the country has dragged its feet behind its EU members in creating anti-homophobia laws.

Attempts by various governments over the past three decades to enact a similar law have either been benched or sabotaged with right wing propaganda, making it impossible for any progress or even just meaningful debate on such legislation.

The vote at the Senate to defeat the bill was celebrated by Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and Brothers of Italy, led by Giorgia Meloni.

Salvini told media outlets…“the arrogance of the PD and M5S has been defeated. The debate should now restart from a League bill allowing the freedom of expression.”

The League senator and Family Day founder Simone Pillon posted on Facebook: “Bye Bye Zan. There is still hope in Italy.”

The foreign minister and ex-M5S leader Luigi Di Maio said the anti-homophobic bill had been “swept away in a disgraceful secret vote” while the Gaynet Roma group said it was a “slap in the face for the majority of the population”.

The M5S leader and former prime minister Giuseppe Conte added…“Those who are rejoicing at this sabotage should explain it to the country. They wanted to stop the future. They wanted to bring Italy back in history,” said former prime minister and current PD leader, Enrico Letta.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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