The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) strongly supports the demonstrations held in Rome last weekend, 18th October, 2009,protesting against the refusal of the Italian Parliament to pass laws protecting people physically victimised because of their sexual orientation.
The bill, which aimed to provide a deterrent against the growing number of “hate crimes” across Italy , especially against LGBT people, was voted out by an “unholy alliance” of Right Wing and Left Wing politicians, with the strong support of the Catholic Church.
As well as acting to torpedo this bill, the Vatican, has been a key player in denying gay Italian citizens other rights, such as the right to marriage or civil partnerships, that are rapidly becoming the norm elsewhere in Western Europe.
MPs rejecting the bill argued that it would give “special rights” to gay people, violating the Italian constitution which requires equality for all. More bizarrely, and inconsistently, it was claimed that it would also offer protection to tendencies such as paedophilia, zoophilia, necrophilia and incest.
In response, on Sunday 18th October, protestors organised “Flash Mobs” in several key locations in Rome, acting out their own “deaths” and wearing pink triangles, to hammer home the message sent out by Parliament, that violence against gay people is not an especially urgent issue. The clear message was that, in the event of any more attacks targeting gay people, the Italian Parliament and Government will have “blood on their hands”.
GALHA Secretary David Christmas commented:
“We congratulate the Italians on the stand they are taking against their government and Parliament’s refusal to act to protect its gay and lesbian citizens.
“The suggestion that the bill would give gay people “special rights” is morally offensive, since gay victims of hate crime are already being singled out for “special treatment” by their attackers. The objection is also intellectually fatuous as the law would also protect straight people targeted for their sexuality. The fact that there are few if any instances of people attacked for being heterosexual is hardly a criticism to be made against gay people.
“The second objection, which directly contradicts the first – suggests that you can’t protect gay people without at the same time protecting perversions like zoophilia. This- is of course deeply insulting not just to gay people, but to the intelligence and common senses of those applying the law, especially as this has not been a real issue where similar laws have been introduced in other countries. Are they really suggesting that their own lawyers and judges are more stupid than those elsewhere in the world?
“The key role of the Vatican in this, also confirms that voicing its disapproval against gay people is more important than physically protecting their lives.
“We call on the Italian Government and Parliament to reverse this shameful decision, and to respect the memory of some of the greatest people in history who have been gay Italians, from Leonardo da Vinci to Michelangelo.
“We also call on European institutions and other EU Governments to apply all possible pressure on Italy to grant full equality and protection to all of its citizens.
“And we call on the many decent Roman Catholics, both in Italy and elsewhere, to make clear to the Vatican that they do not support its continued vendetta against gay people.
“If the Vatican and the Italian Parliament continue to block Anti-Hate Laws, then both will have blood on their hands.
“This outrage provides yet another reason to object to honouring the Pope with a lavish state reception in the UK, as proposed by Gordon Brown with the support of David Cameron.”
Andrea Maccarrone, president of the Rome based Gay Association Circolo Mario Mieli said:
“We welcome GALHA’s support in this vital struggle, which involves all European citizens, not just Italians.”
Photos of the demonstrations are also available from
A brief video of the demo is also available on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4GXFQiVhLI
Note to Editors:
GALHA provides a voice for the many non-religious members of the LGBT community in
the United Kingdom and elsewhere and promotes a rational approach to LGBT
Rights as human rights. For its 30th Anniversary in 2009 GALHA is holding a
series of special public meetings and events including an exhibition of its
work in Central London.