Italy: Lower House of the Italian Parliament to debate anti-homophobia bill
The Lower House of Italy’s Parliament is set to begin debating a bill that would make homophobic discrimination a criminal offence in the country.
The bill was given the green light late on Monday evening by a parliamentary commission with the votes of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD), ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, and the left-wing SEL group.
As prime minister, Berlusconi was known for being an opponent on LGBT rights.
“I have a gruelling work schedule and if I happen to look pretty girls in the face now and then, well then, it’s better to be a fan of pretty women than to be gay.”
Berlusconi resigned as PM in November 2011 as Italy battled with mounting economic chaos and soaring debt levels.
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Despite facing criminal charges in relation to underage sex with prostitutes and a potential jail sentence, Berlusconi still attempts to influence Italian politics.
Several Catholic figures within his party are unhappy over proposals to criminalise homophobic discrimination.
They have unsuccessfully called for a government moratorium on the issue.
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.