Vatican not blocking Italian government’s LGBT rights move

Accusations that the Vatican is trying to block Italy’s government from passing laws to further protect LGBT rights are unfounded, says the Vatican Secretary of State.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin says he personally approved the diplomatic communication, which rather than attacking the LGBT community, was intended to express concerns over the proposed Italian legislation.

The Vatican is against any “attitude or gesture of intolerance or hatred toward people motivated by sexual orientations,” he added.

Parolin says the Vatican’s main concern about the legislation related to the way it was written.

The “vagaries” in the text of the proposed law could expose anyone expressing an opinion about “any possible distinction between man and woman” to prosecution, he explained.

The letter, which has been published by Italian media, claims the law would violate a landmark treaty establishing diplomatic ties between Italy and the Vatican.

The proposed law would put the right of Roman Catholics to freely express themselves at risk, it said.

As an example, the letter cited a clause that would require Catholic schools, along with their public counterparts, to run activities on a designated day against homophobia and transphobia.

The law would add women, people who are homosexual, transsexual or with disabilities, to those protected by a law banning discrimination and punishing hate crimes.

While Italy’s lower house of parliament passed the legislation last November, it has been stalled in the Senate because of right-wing concerns that it would limit freedom of expression.

Right-wing leader Matteo Salvini, says anyone saying a family is formed with a man and a woman would be exposed to possible prosecution.

People supporting the law have dismissed these concerns. They say the threshold for prosecution is inciting hatred or violence against the protected classes.

Premier Mario Draghi has rebuffed the Vatican’s attempt at influencing the legislative process. “Italy is a secular state,” he told parliament.

Many of those outraged with what they see as Vatican meddling are calling for the so-called Lateran Treaty to be cancelled. This treaty, originally established under fascism and revised in the 1980s, established diplomatic ties between the Vatican and predominantly Roman Catholic Italy.

LGBT rights activists say they will be transforming Gay Pride events in Rome and Milan on Saturday into protests against what they see as the Vatican’s interference in the Italian legislative process.

In the past, the Vatican has spoken out about other issues. These included objecting to Italian laws legalizing abortion and divorce and backing unsuccessful referendums after the fact to try to repeal them.


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