Italian Anti-LGBTQ Lawmakers Applaud the Defeat of Nondiscrimination Protections

On Wednesday, October 27, Italy's senate rejected a bill that would have made violence and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, disabled people against the law, as well as made misogyny a hate crime. The disegno di legge Zan, also known as DDL Zan, was a piece of legislation first proposed by Democratic Party parliament member Alessandro Zan in 2018.

After being passed by the lower house of Italy's parliament, the bill moved on to the Senate, where right-wing parties Lega and Fratelli d'Italia effectively shut down efforts to pass the legislation through. They proposed a tagliola, a process that stops the Senate from reviewing articles of the bill and does not allow for votes on the draft law to proceed. The tagliola was approved with 151 in favor, 131 against, and 2 absentions, with multiple Senate members rising up in cheers and applause for rejecting the anti-discrimination bill seen below:

The struggle over LGBTQ+ protections in Italy is not unique; many European countries are seeing a rise in tensions and disputes over the status of LGBTQ+ rights, with divisions between different Eastern and Western nations and political factions flaring on specific issues such as same-sex marriage, new hate crime laws protecting LGBTQ+ people, and general public support for LGBTQ+ rights. Lawmakers in Poland have advanced a bill that would ban gay pride parades and public promotion of LGBTQ+ rights, whereas Switzerland joined a majority of Western European countries in legalizing gay marriage and the right to adopt children for same-sex couples this past September.

Francesca Vecchioni, president and founder of Diversity, an Italian organization working to advance issues of inclusion and diversity in the workplace, media, and institutions, responded to the rejection of the anti-discrimination bill and the Senate reaction, writing, "The shamefulness of those applauses. The greatest violence is to be found in that cheering, in those applauses and in the cries of joy that accompanied the defeat of the DDL Zan in the Senate. I am speechless, and I only feel shame for how small they are, those who are meant to represent us."

Despite the setback, Vecchioni underscored that "this is exactly the time to keep going. This is only a temporary stop, and we can turn it into something even bigger than it was before; we just need to be focused and to create a strategy for a long term plan. Most importantly, the DDL Zan has had the great value of bringing together different people in an intersectional way. Now is the time to keep working together: in the same way we’ve not left transgender people behind when some would have wanted them to be erased, we won’t leave anyone alone in this fight." 

Vecchioni's statement: