ITALY: Calling Someone “Gay” Is No Longer Libelous

Metro reports:

It’s the ‘insult’ of choice for many a schoolyard bully but being called gay should be not considered offensive, Italy’s high court has ruled. Judges said the term ‘homosexual’ no longer has an ‘intrinsically offensive meaning as, perhaps, might have been considered in the not-so-distant past’, ANSA reports from the Cassation Court in Rome.

The judgement was made while the judiciary quashed a libel conviction of a 60-year-old man who was used the term last year. It said that the term relating to an individual’s sexual preferences is now of ‘neutral character’ which means it can’t harm anyone’s character.

However, the ruling has been slammed by some gay rights groups saying it could sanction bullying against gay people, especially young people in schools. The Gay Centre’s spokesman, Fabrizio Marrazzo, said, “In Italy there is no law against homophobia that bans discriminatory insults as exist in other countries. This ruling would be clearer if such legislation was in place.”