ROME, August 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Up to 500 people are expected to hold a demonstration later tonight outside the Italian parliament to protest a bill that would criminalize homophobia and “transphobia,” something constitutional experts believe would shut down citizens' right to free speech, especially for Christians.
The event is organized by the recently formed Italian branch of Manif pour Tous.
It will be matched by a demonstration in Paris by the French branch of the group, outside the Italian embassy.
The group contends that the bill would stifle any principled opposition to the homosexual political agenda, including plans that they say are already afoot in parliament to institute homosexual civil unions or “gay marriage” and homosexual adoptions in Italy.
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Manif pour Tous Italia has frankly called the bill a “gag law” that, if passed, would “prevent associations and free citizens from making reasoned opposition to civil measures relating to same-sex marriage and adoption of children by same-sex couples.”
Under this proposed law, anyone “who asserted the uniqueness of the family as the natural union between a man and a woman could be accused of homophobia, ending up in prison, and be forced to re-education-style totalitarian regime,” the group said in a statement.
“Manif pour Tous Italy is not against anyone. We don’t hate people with attraction toward persons of the same sex. We condemn any derision, humiliation and violence against them,” it wrote.
“At the same time, and not in conflict with the foregoing, we reaffirm the importance of freedom of thought that this law would eliminate for those who do not approve of the ideology of gender (not representative of the majority of homosexuals), which does not take into account the right of the weakest people, children, to have a father and a mother,” the group said.
Michela Marzano, a Deputy with the Partito Democratico who supports the bill, denied these claims saying, “What you want to prohibit is the hate speech…or incitement to violence against trans and gays, but all remain free to express their opinions civilly. You want to get across the idea that if the rule were to be adopted it would ban opposition to gay marriage. This is not the case. Opinions are free. Violent insults, however, may not be.”
But opponents maintain that even significantly amended, the bill will still violate basic constitutional principles. Giancarlo Cerelli, a lawyer and vice president of the National Union of Italian Catholic Jurists, wrote that the proposed law remains a “grave threat” to democratic freedoms in Italy. “The hazardous nature of these laws can be deduced from experience, common sense and principles of natural law…as recognized by reason, which is applicable to all regardless of faith or of religious allegiance,” he wrote.
In an op-ed at Tempi.it, Cerelli noted the apparent reversal of the usual procedure for the homosexual activists. In most jurisdictions that have implemented such changes, the order has been to start with tax and inheritance laws, then move on to civil unions, and then to “gay marriage”. In Britain, after civil unions were created, activists moved on to use discrimination or “equalities” laws to stamp out public opposition. But in Italy, that procedure has been reversed, with the first step being outlawing “homophobia” which will clear space for creating civil unions, and “marriage” and adoptions.
“I think now there are no more doubts as to the existence of a strategy that aims to implement gay marriage in Italy. I would consider it more properly the ‘Italian way to gay marriage,’” Cerelli wrote.
He said that the “cultural and political forces” working to “revolutionize also in Italy the institution of the family” have realised “that to get to gay marriage in our country we need a procedure more detailed than that implemented in other states, as in Italy there is more resistance than elsewhere.”
Mauro Ronco, a professor of criminal law at the University of Padua, has also warned that the bill is clearly intended by a coalition of the Left to suppress any organized opposition to plans to introduce same-sex civil unions and ultimately same-sex “marriage” legislation.
“And, even more, all those who propose to refuse the right to adopt a child to homosexual couples,” he added.
“Indeed, according to the ideology newly adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States,” Ronco wote in an analysis at the website of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiano, “not to admit a gay couple to marriage constitutes discrimination motivated by gender identity. An organized opinion campaign [alleges] that opposition to ‘gay marriage’ by members of Parliament constitutes, therefore, ‘incitement to commit acts of discrimination,’ punishable criminally.”
The legal standard that the law would introduce is “an unacceptable violation of the principle of the free manifestation of thought, protected by Art. 21 of the Constitution. It is an inviolable and irrepressible right, essential for the very existence of a democratic system, that cannot be changed even with a constitutional review process,” he said.
Ronco also said that efforts to introduce special provisions for conscientious objection, miss the fundamental point: “The Bill is the way to an authoritarian moral approval [of homosexuality], making ethical relativism the indisputable legal parameter,” he said.
The principle is not only the freedom to express opinions critical of homosexual practices, “but, more radically, the freedom to express their thoughts against the dictatorship of relativism, which would like the same treatment of all sexual practices. Homosexuality today, tomorrow sadism and masochistic practices, and finally, perhaps, bestiality and other practices which are today still deemed unacceptable.”