Italy: Six gay rights activists charged with disturbing peace for engaging in ‘passionate kiss’
Six gay rights activists in Italy have been charged with disturbing the peace because they engaged in “a long and passionate kiss on the mouth” during an anti-gay protest.
The charges came after the campaigners – three men and three women – kissed in public during an anti-gay rally in Perugia, organised by Sentinelle in Piedi.
The public prosecutor’s office notified the six of the charges earlier this month.
He had acted on a police report that accused two of the men of engaging in “a long and passionate kiss on the mouth… in front of many families with children and adolescents many of whom are minors, leaving passersby disgusted by such a demonstration.”
Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “The charges would be laughable if they didn’t reflect exactly the anti-gay sentiment the activists are fighting against.
“The public prosecutor should withdraw these charges immediately. Gay men and lesbian women kissing in public is not a crime.
“The activists’ actions are clearly protected by their right to peaceful protest.”
Italy is home to a large Catholic population, and lags behind other European countries on LGBT rights, with gay couples having no legal recognition, rights to adopt, and limited protection from discrimination.