ROME — (11-14-21) — Far-right lawmakers voiced their outrage over a decree passed by the Italian Senate that bans anti-LGBTQ, sexists, anti ethnic groups and disabled people adverts.  Italy’s far-right politicians who are dead set against LGBTQ rights are outraged that their beliefs are being outlawed.

The law, which forms part of a transport and infrastructure decree, bans adverts on streets and all forms of public transportation that are demeaning to the LGBTQ community, women, perpetuate gender stereotypes as well as those considered harmful to civil and political rights.

In addition, the measure bans adverts that discriminate against people based on their gender identity, an element described by Lucio Malan, a senator with the right wing group Brothers of Italy, as “an ideological norm aimed at limiting freedom of expression”. Opponents are especially furious as it was the reference to gender identity that in effect led to the senate, or upper house of parliament, last week rejecting a bill aimed at fighting homophobia. “It’s a measure that was introduced treacherously,” said Malan.

Andrea Bertoli, another senator with Brothers of Italy, added that the “shameful” anti-homophobia law had been “reproduced in a transport decree”.

The divisive anti-homophobia law originally introduced by the far-right was blocked by the senate after months of protests earlier this year by the far-right and Catholic groups, who argued that it would have suppressed freedom of expression and promote a  “homosexual propaganda” in schools.  But those typical right-wing fear tactics have now failed thanks to the courage of the Italian Senate.

“The law doesn’t specifically refer to abortion but it widens the measure in a very intelligent way, meaning there will be action taken to block this kind of publicity,” said Luisa Rizzitelli, a women’s rights activist.

Abortion has been legal in Italy since 1978 and so the law will ban advertisements that infringe upon a woman’s right to have an abortion, added Rizzitelli.

Antonio Brandi, the president of ProVita, also took aim at the gender identity element of the law saying…“Will it still be possible to affirm in an advertisement that baby boys are male and baby girls are female? That a baby is born to a mother and father?” said Brandi.

Rizzitelli dismissed Brandi and said the measure was “a great step forward” in banning sexist publicity “which is everywhere across Italy. The big brands have become much more attentive but in smaller towns we still find adverts which are offensive to the dignity of women,” said Rizzitelli.

Nadia Rossi, a politician with the Democratic party added…“It’s a first step towards a definitive stop to hateful messages that are conveyed through advertising. It is not in any way about limiting communication, but of realizing how much advertising can influence the thinking of young people, and affect minorities and the most vulnerable.” said Rossi.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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