Rome, September 18 - It is unacceptable that Italy still has no law against homophobia as a hate crime, Amnesty International said Wednesday. Although Italy, along with other European Union countries including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Latvia, have "comprehensive legislation on hate crimes", they do not include crimes based on an individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, the organization said in a report. Such a failure is "unacceptable" because it conflicts with international human rights laws that prohibit sexual orientation being grounds for discrimination, said Amnesty. In July, Italy's Lower House began debate on a controversial bill that would make homophobia a criminal offence. But while many politicians supported the bill, several Catholic figures within the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party complained it could curtail freedom of speech and opinion.
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