The odds seem good for a return of the anti-homophobia law in Italy after an initial backlash, the so-called “Zan bill”.
The Zan bill, named after LGBTQ+ activist and politician Alessandro Zan, is a “disegno di legge” (DDL, ‘draft law’ or ‘bill’), which proposed a new law to make discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity a crime in Italy.
This DDL was mostly in response to a rise in the number and seriousness of acts of violence towards LGBTQ+ people in the country.
It was at the centre of intense controversial discussions since it was proposed, which were exacerbated when the independent state of Vatican City joined the opposition to the bill.
The Vatican presented a formal diplomatic counterargument on the grounds of Catholic freedom. To submit their arguments against the Zan bill, the Vatican relied on a 1984 Concordat, a pact between Italy and the Holy See that regulates some of their relations. The Vatican claims that the bill would “negatively impact” the rights of the church.
However, after an initial pause during the summer 2021, members of the Italian Senate requested to re-initiate conversations around the bill by the end of October 2021.
It is unclear what the majority of elected representatives will campaign for at this stage. However, it is clear that many members of parliament want to bring the conversations to a vote. A clearer timeline should be made public by 25 October.
Why is this relevant for us in Wales?
The main drive behind the DDL Zan is the need to counter a growing number of cases and the seriousness of acts of violence towards LGBTQ+ people in Italy.
This would resonate among people in Wales, due to the homophobic and transphobic hate crimes surge, which doubled since 2014.
Although the shape of the final resolution of the Zan bill is still unclear, what is much clearer is the need for bold statements in support of LGBTQ+ across Europe.
And the strong opposition against the bill is a clear signal that European governments should read and act upon.