Main | Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Italy Creates Fine For Gay Insults

In Italy you can now be fined for calling someone gay if you mean it in an insulting way. Italian gays are debating whether that's a good thing.
Is it an insult to call somebody gay? That is the question Italians are pondering as they await a pivotal court decision on gay marriage expected this week. Last week, in an unrelated case, one of Italy's highest courts issued a ruling that states calling someone gay can be an insult if it’s done with the intention to denigrate. The ruling sparked a debate among the country’s homosexual community: Will the decision, which aimed to protect gay rights, hurt not help?

“It risks reinforcing the idea that if you call somebody gay, they should feel offended,” said Aurelio Mancuso,” one of the country’s leading activists on the issue. “For us to be called gay is to be serene and comfortable.” The case concerned a letter written by a policeman, named in the court documents as Dante S., to a colleague, Luciano T., in 2002. The two men had a long-standing rivalry and were competing to become the chief of police. In addition to describing his competitor as “gay,” Dante noted that Luciano had gone on a mountain holiday in the company of a sailor and accused him of having been expelled from a sports club frequented by young men.
Insulting someone in Italy was already a fineable offense. In the above-cited precedent setting case, the loser was forced to pay 400 Euros to the man he called gay, plus 5400 Euros in fines and court costs.

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