Vatican Protests against Italian Bill on Homophobia


In Italy, a bill which punishes segregation and provocation to hostility against the LGBT community is presently passing through parliament. This has necessitated a protest by the Vatican. BBC reports that the Zan bill also punishes discrimination against women and persons with disabilities. 

The Zan bill was named after LGBT politician and activist, Alessandro Zan. In November, the lower house of parliament passed the bill. Presently, the Senate is needed to pass the bill.

In its reaction, the Vatican said the bill would restrain religious freedom held in a treaty. In the present Roman Catholic principle, gay relationships are described as ‘’deviant behavior.’’ 

Proposers of the bill said that it would guarantee the protection of religious freedom. When this bill is passed, LGBT or disabled people would get legal backings. For persons found guilty of discriminating against this group of persons may face up to four years in prison.
                               (Alessandro Zan)

The Vatican’s position
On June 17, the Vatican unofficially sent a letter to Italy’s ambassador registering its displeasure against the proposed law. The spokesman of Vatican, Matteo Bruni, informed AFP news agency that the bill was "an unprecedented act in the history of relations" between the Vatican and Italy.

According to the Vatican, the bill would contravene the Lateran Treaty, which was signed in 1929 by them. The treaty identified Vatican City as an independent state. 

Besides, Il Corriere newspaper reported that the Church also disagreed with the inclusion of Catholic schools in a suggested national day against transphobia and homophobia which would be held annually on May 17. It also showed worry that Catholics could face the law for expressing their views on LGBT matters. 

Leader of far-right Northern League, Matteo Salvini, affirmed that his party stands with the Church. The sponsor of the bill, Alessandro Zan, refuted claims that it would cause some restrictions. He made a tweet to this effect saying that "The text [of the law] does not restrict in any way freedom of expression or religious freedom. And it respects the autonomy of all schools."

Pope Francis has taken a more open-minded position on homosexuality. Last year in a documentary, he noted that same-sex couples should be permitted to have "civil unions".

Nevertheless, the revered cleric has formerly repeated the position of the Church that homosexuality is a sin. It will be recalled in 2018 that the pope admitted that he was "worried" about homosexuality in the clergy, describing it as "a serious matter."

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