The Vatican formally opposed a bill dedicated to the fight against homophobia, reports the daily Corriere della Sera (in Italy), Tuesday June 22. According to the newspaper, a “verbal note” Diplomatic was handed over by Bishop Paul Gallagher – in charge at the Vatican for relations with other states – to the Italian Embassy to the Holy See on June 17. “This is an unprecedented act in the history of relations between the two states, at least there are no public precedents”, estimates the newspaper.
The bill under discussion in the Italian Senate aims to punish acts of discrimination and incitement to violence against gays, lesbians, transgender people and the disabled. The Vatican note, unsigned, considers that parts of the Italian bill violate the bilateral treaty in force between Italy and the Holy See, calling into question the freedom guaranteed to the Catholic Church in matters of organization and exercise of worship, as well as the freedom of expression granted to the faithful and to Catholic associations.
Italian Catholic schools would thus have the obligation to participate in activities for the national day against homophobia. And the diplomatic note is particularly concerned that the law could lead to prosecution. The bill on “measures to prevent and fight against discrimination and violence on grounds based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability”, worn by the deputy of the Democratic Party (center-left) Alessandro Zan, was approved in the Chamber of Deputies in November. It is currently being debated in the Senate.
A year ago, the Italian episcopate had already firmly contested the bill, sparking an outcry from homosexual organizations and members of parliament. “The possible introduction of new incriminating provisions would risk opening the way to liberticidal drifts, discrimination”, judged the Italian Episcopal Conference, believing that Italy already had adequate legal instruments. “To subject, for example, to criminal proceedings those who believe that the family requires a father and a mother, and not the duplication of the same figure, would be tantamount to introducing a crime of opinion.”