Italy: Church opposes anti-homophobia law
The Catholic Church in Italy has spoken out against plans to ban discrimination against homosexuals. The Italian Episcopal Conference in Rome has argued that the existing legislation already provides sufficient protection against violence and persecution. Commentators take different sides on the issue.
No need for new regulations
Since the current laws already offer protection against discrimination further rules would be tantamount to restricting freedom of opinion, the Catholic daily Avvenire comments, endorsing the arguments of the Episcopal Conference:
“There is no need for a new law because the existing system already adequately covers all violent or discriminatory behaviour. That is why the proposed laws against homotransphobia currently being examined by the Justice Commission are a cause for concern. The presidency of the Italian Episcopal Conference has denounced the futility of a new legislative intervention which, if it 'introduces further onerous regulations, risks opening itself up to anti-freedom tendencies'. With the result that in the end it is not so much discrimination as the right to express one's opinion that would be sanctioned.”
Protection from hate speech and violence
Civil rights activist Sergio Lo Giudice explains in HuffPost Italia why he believes the law is necessary:
“The LGBTI population in this country is not demanding that constitutional freedoms be restricted for anyone, but that they be extended for all. They are not demanding that a priest renounce the positions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church from the pulpit. ... These people want to be protected from discriminatory acts, hate speech, violent incidents and the lack of legal protection that has led to Italy being ranked 35th among European countries in the annual ILGA-Europe ranking of countries protecting LGBTI rights, behind states like Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo and Serbia.”