Vatican protests against new anti-LGBT laws in Italy

Vatican tells Italy to stop plans for anti-homophobia laws as they would force Catholic schools to participate in LGBT events

  • Equality laws in Italy will create national holiday celebrating LGBT community
  • Catholic schools would not be exempt from participating in the events
  • That prompted the Vatican to lodge an ‘unprecedented’ protest against rules 
  • Holy See says the laws will violate the Concordat treaty which governs relations between Italy and Vatican City 

The Vatican has made an ‘unprecedented’ formal diplomatic objection to a draft Italian law against homophobia, a news report said Tuesday.

The so-called Zan law, which is currently being debated in Italy’s parliament, seeks to punish acts of discrimination and incitement to violence against gay, lesbian, transgender and disabled people.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, the Vatican argued in a formal note that the bill violates the Concordat, the treaty between Italy and the Holy See.

The Vatican has made an ‘unprecedented’ protest against new equality laws in Italy that would force Catholic schools to participate in a new pro-LGBT public holiday (file image)

‘It is an unprecedented act in the history of relations between the two states – or at least, there are no public precedents,’ the daily said.

Pope Francis’ de facto foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, delivered a letter, or ‘note verbale’, to the Italian embassy to the Holy See on June 17.

The letter suggested that the Zan law would breach the Concordat by curtailing Catholic freedom of belief and expression.

This is because Catholic schools would not be exempted from an obligation to take part in a newly-created national day against homophobia, lesbophobia and transphobia.

The letter also expressed concern that Catholics could in the future face legal action for expressing opinions against LGBTI rights, Corriere said.

Corriere noted that even if the Holy See had ‘never before’ taken such a step against a draft Italian law, the Concordat gives it the right to do so.

Neither the Vatican nor the Italian foreign ministry responded to requests for comment on the Corriere report, published four days before Rome’s 2021 Gay Pride parade.

The Zan law was passed by the lower house of parliament in November, but its final approval is far from guaranteed as it faces stiff opposition from right-wing parties in the Senate.

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The Vatican argues the new law would violate the Concordat, a treaty which governs relations between Italy and Vatican City (file image)

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