Rome

House committee approves bill against homophobia

Harsher penalties for hate crimes, debate on July 22

House committee approves bill against homophobia

Rome, July 10 - The Lower House's justice committee has approved the text of a draft law which formally recognizes for the first time homosexuality and raises penalties for anti-gay provocations and hate crimes. The House will start examining the bill on July 22. The text approved by the justice committee late on Tuesday provides for those found guilty of crimes against gays to be given the same penalties as in racial discrimination cases - up to four years in jail for violence and up to three years for inciting violence or promoting sexual discrimination. The text approved by the committee recognizes for the first time in an Italian law the gay identity. Sexual orientation, the draft law says, should be intended as "the attraction towards a person of the same gender, different gender or both genders". Gender identity is also defined as "the perception a person has of herself or himself as belonging to the female or male gender, even if such perception is the opposite of the effective biological gender".

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