Italian lawmakers slammed for 'betrayal' after celebrating defeat of anti-homophobia bill

'I feel like vomiting', one senator said as she filmed lawmakers cheering the defeat

Right wing lawmakers in Italy have been blasted for “betrayal” after they stood to celebrate when a bill, drafted to crack down on homophobia and discrimination, was defeated.

The Zan Bill (named after MP Alessandro Zan who proposed it in May 2018) would have made discrimination against LGBT+ people, women and disabled people a hate crime.

But a motion put forward by right-wing parties Lega Nord and Fratelli d’Italia blocked the bill by 154 votes to 131.

The Vatican also stepped in earlier this year to raise concerns over the bill.

Right wing party, Brother of Italy lawmakers hold a banner reading: 'free to be, free of thinking, NO to Zan law.' Credit: AP

Mr Zan described the result as a “betrayal of a political pact that wanted the country to take a step towards civilisation.”

Thousands gathered at the Arco della Pace on Thursday night in Milan shining the torches on their phones “against the darkness of intolerance” as a result of the bill’s defeat.

Senator Caterina Biti from the centre-left Democratic Party published footage of applause and cheers erupting in the senate after the result of the vote was announced.

“I feel like vomiting,” she wrote.

The bill passed the lower house almost a year ago but faced opposition in the senate and from the Vatican that said Catholics’ freedom of expression could be curtailed by the legislation.

In an unprecedented step in June, the Vatican lodged a formal diplomatic complaint against the bill.

The secret vote meant senators did not have to declare their position publicly and were able to vote against their party line.