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ROME, Italy (LifeSiteNews) – The Italian senate shot down an attempt by LGBT activists to codify opposition to the LGBT agenda as a criminal act. 

The senators decided against the “Zan bill” on October 27 by 154 votes to 131, thus prompting rapturous applause among conservative members in the chamber. 

The Zan bill is named after openly homosexual politician Alessandro Zan, who first introduced the proposal to the Italian parliament. Zan also acts as a leading member of the Italian LGBT activist organization Arcigay, which has railed against the Catholic Church for its traditional teachings regarding sexuality. 

Zan’s bill proposed to amend Italy’s penal code to criminalize “discrimination or violence based on sex, gender, or disability,” and to institute a national day against “homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.” 

Acts deemed to violate the discrimination law would have been punished with an up to €6,000 ($6950 U.S.) fine and 18 months’ imprisonment. 

Concerns about the imprecision of the bill’s definition of terms like “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” raised concerns among conservative and pro-family groups regarding the scope of the proposed law, with worries that freedom of thought and expression could be stifled. 

Catholic schools in Italy, of which around 8,000 must follow the Italian state curriculum, were at risk of being forced to celebrate the new “national day against homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.” 

Antonio Brandi, president of the Italian Catholic Pro Vita e Famiglia (PVF, For Life and Family) organization, said that the senate’s decision to throw out the Zan bill is “a victory for democracy, freedom of opinion and conscience, and of the educative freedom of Italian families.” 

PVF had been outspoken against the bill from its inception in the lower house of the Italian parliament in 2018, organizing conferences and demonstrations in protest of the radical bill over the three years that it progressed through Italian parliament. 

“Today we all won because all Italians have the right to express their fundamental freedoms and to think differently from the usual mainstream pro-LGBT [narrative],” Brandi said. 

He added that “common sense prevailed among the senators” and celebrated the bill’s defeat as having “foiled the brainwashing of millions of children in Italian schools by LBGT activists.” 

The senate was originally set to decide on the bill in July, but deliberations were pushed back for months due to the influx of 1,000 amendment proposals. 

Owing to the broad nature of the bill, the Vatican Secretary of State wrote a letter to the Italian Ambassador to the Vatican, Pietro Sebastiani, on June 17. 

The letter highlighted the possibility that the amendments within the Zan bill would violate the principles of the Lateran Pacts, by which the two sovereign states guaranteed “the full freedom of the Catholic Church to carry out its pastoral, educational and charitable mission, of evangelization and sanctification.” 

The Pacts ensure “Catholics and their associations and organizations are guaranteed full freedom of assembly and expression of thought by word, writing and any other means of dissemination.”