A political party in Italy interrupted a debate over an LGBT discrimination protection bill, to stage a kiss-in protest in solidarity with the LGBT community.

Members of the Five Star Movement (MS5), which is currently the most powerful political party in Italy, staged the kissing protest during the debate, whilst kissing and hugging one another. Other members of the party stood up holding signs calling for “more rights” for LGBT people.

Following the protest, the protection bill passed the lower house of the Italian parliament with 354 votes to 79.

Activist groups in the country have reportedly expressed concerns over the bill, as it ”intends to penalize homophobia and transphobia but still protects the ‘opinions expressed within political, cultural or religious organizations,’ allowing groups to continue making homophobic comments.”

The anti-discrimination bill must now pass the Italian Senate, before being signed into law.

Back in July, the Lower House of Italy’s Parliament announced it was set to begin debating the bill that would make homophobic discrimination a criminal offence in the country.

Italy currently has no protections against anti-gay discrimination in public, in the provision of goods and services or against hate speech.

Same-sex marriages and civil partnerships are currently not recognised and same-sex couples do not have adoption rights.

Gender identity is also not a part of official anti-discrimination legislation.

An Italian gay rights group earlier this month called on the Italian Government to break its “silence”, on the issue of Russian anti-gay laws introduced in June.

Last week Italy was listed by Amnesty International alongside Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Latvia as lacking protection against homophobic and transphobic crime, in a new report across the EU.