ROME, Italy – An anti-homophobia bill approved by Italy’s lower Chamber of Deputies (parliament) on Thursday has been criticised as having loopholes that will legally allow anti-gay hate speech to go unpunished.
The draft bill proposes to criminalise acts based on homophobia or transphobia as an aggravating statutory factor, has been overwhelmingly approved by a 354 in favour and 79 against vote.
The bill now passes for a debate in the Italian Senate, where it is unlikely, according to La Repubblica, to be voted in as law.
However, a controversial amendment by legislator Gregorio Gitti, of the Civic-Choice party, has been adopted in the draft law, allowing, “opinions expressed within political organisations, religious or cultural” to be excluded from prosecution.
Andrea Colletti, legislator of the Five Star Movement party (M5S), warned that the draft bill effectively allows the negative continued use of “homosexuality as a fetish, for propaganda and political means.”
During the vote, M5S legislators staged a kiss-in, holding signs reading, “more rights.”
LGBT advocacy groups slammed the bill saying it was “useless” and “hypocritical,” by effectively granting key organisations and groupings an opt out clause, and a green light to continue to use homophobic and transphobic speech.
A recent report by Amnesty International has signalled out Italy as having gaps in its legislation that fail to protect LGBT citizens.