An Italian Catholic group is backing a new homotransphobia law, saying that in the proposed legislation there is “no real risk to anybody’s fundamental freedoms”.
– Background to a controversial draft law
As Italian LGBTQ Catholic advocates Progetto Gionata report, the Italian branch of the “Christian Life Community” (CVX), an association present in 62 countries and that, as it explains on its website, “brings together adults and young people of all conditions, with a special friendship with the Jesuit fathers and a strong bond with Ignatian spirituality”, published a statement July 8 on the new homotransphobia legislation.
In its text, the CVX noted that what were originally five different bills have now been unified and tabled in Parliament as a single text to be debated over the coming weeks and months.
The legislation’s aim, the CVX said, is that of “intervening to protect LGBT+ persons and punishing those who incite to commit, or commit, acts of discrimination, violence or acts of provocation to violence on grounds of sex, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity”.
Both Catholics – including the Italian Bishops – and Evangelicals have been concerned that language in the draft laws such as “discrimination”, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” is too vague and that LGBT-activist judges will thereby take it on themselves to define such terms when handing down sentences that will end up punishing Christians who for religious reasons are opposed to the LGBT rights movement.
Despite repeated reassurances from the drafters of the new law, Italian Catholics and Evangelicals are also worried about the spectre of restrictions on freedom of speech, and about the possible criminalisation of those who believe and preach traditional Christian doctrines on the family.
Catholics and Evangelicals have also argued that sufficient protections already exist in Italian law against violence and persecution against minorities, and that new homotransphobic specific legislation is therefore unnecessary.
– Group calls on Catholics to follow debate, avoid “fuelling unfounded fears”
In their note July 8, however, the CVX dismissed those Catholic and Evangelical concerns over the legislation, and in the context of the protest movement Restiamo liberi (“Remain free”) to stop the new law pointed out that “the CVX in Italy does not recognise, in the single text filed with the Chamber, any real risk for anyone’s fundamental freedoms”.
The CVX also called on lawmakers to enhance the educational and preventive aspects of the new legislation, and to fortify already existing efforts to welcome LGBT+ people and combat the discrimination and violence they suffer, such as those undertaken in recent years by various Catholic communities.
Distancing itself “from any political instrumentalisation of the Gospel”, the CVX also invited citizens “to follow closely the developments in the parliamentary debate without fuelling unfounded fears and to give priority to the concrete removal of social obstacles that prevent the full development of every human person”, as mandated in the Italian Constitution.
To Catholics specifically, the CVX made an appeal to take a position in the debate “that is in tune with the Church’s mission in the world”, since “fidelity to the Church and to the Gospel… remains for every believer the fundamental end and criterion of judgment” and not just “an instrument of political positions”.
The CVX added that words from Pope Francis to the effect that no person should be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation “resonate clearly” in the debate.
“As do, in a stronger and more inclusive way, the words of the Gospel:
‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment’. But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment’ (Mt 5:21-22)”, the CVX recalled.
“The CVX in Italy can only adopt this attitude of welcoming every human condition and feels strongly the call of the Gospel to take the side of the victims a priori”, the Catholic group continued, pledging to make “frontiers of mission” the “places of discrimination and violence against women and LGBT+ people, peripheries of contemporary social life”.