Vatican Says Italy’s Hate Speech Law Blunts Freedom of Speech

The Vatican has formally complained to Italy that a planned law criminalizing anti-LGBTQ hate speech would harm the freedom of Catholics.

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, delivered the rebuke in a diplomatic note this month, according to reports in Italian media. He said the planned law would limit freedom of speech, as well as put Catholic schools at legal risk if they refuse to mark a national day against homophobia.

According to the reports, Gallagher invoked the Mussolini-era treaty that created the Vatican city state and guarantees the freedom of the Church and of Catholics in Italy.

Italy ranks lowest in western Europe for gender equality and a bill that criminalizes violence and hate speech targeting a person’s sexual orientation or identity is slowly making its way through parliament.

Last month, the head of the Italian bishops, cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, said that he saw no need for a new law reinforcing protections against discrimination but that parliament and the people should have the last word.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.