Homophobia law may be delayed until after summer recess

The League proposes 700 amendments to homophobia law

Life in Italy News

Rightwing party League tabled 700 amendments to the Zan bill or homophobia law which is now in the Senate. The fear is the bill may be delayed coming into law until after the recess due to continuing disagreements.

The homophobia law, also known as the Zan bill after the politician who proposed it, was approved by the Lower House. It aims to combat homophobia in Italy. However, it appears there is not a majority in the upper chamber to pass it into law.

League say bill curbs freedom of expression

The League, Matteo Salvini’s nationalist party, says the bill curbs freedom of expression. However, the party also said it would withdraw the amendments if the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) is willing to negotiate about their objections.

The PD member and gay activist, Alessandro Zan, filed the bill.

Although the PD would love to see the bill passed, its leader Enrico Letta ruled out negotiating with Salvini. Letta said, Salvini was homophobic as shown by his support for Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

With both sides seemingly at an impasse, it’s possible the bill may be delayed until after the summer recess.   

Already taken eight months to get to the senate

Last week the draft legislation reached the Senate floor eight months after approval by the Lower House.

The risk is the bill returns to the Upper House’s justice committee if an agreement is not reached. This would create another delay.

There have been ongoing discussions around the bill, with the Vatican wading in recently. The Vatican expressed concern it could breach the Lateran Treaty which regulates relations between the Italian State and the Holy See.

The argument around freedom of expression comes from alleged areas that could be open to interpretation by the courts as they are too vague. 

Zan and the rest of the PD argue that the bill would not crimp freedom of expression. They say Catholic conservatives would still be able to state that they find homosexuality sinful.

The bill would make homophobia an aggravating factor in acts of violence or discrimination like racism already is.

Opposition to the Zan bill

The parties opposed to the bill in its current form, led by Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI), are seeking a delay. They want more time to reach an agreement on a package that can have wider support.

 The PD, the 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the left-wing LeU group are against further delay, saying the law is already long overdue.

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