Italy Just Made it Very Difficult for LGBTQ to Seek Refuge

Italy's Lower House recently passed a law that will make it very difficult for LGBTQ people who live in anti-gay countries to seek Asylum in Italy, according to Gay Times.

Countries such as Yemen, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Sudan all have strict punishments for homosexuality. The punishments include imprisonment and even death so it is perfectly natural that LGBTQ people would want to flee and take refuge in a country in which they're not killed for being gay. Italy is relatively geographically close to many of the countries mentioned above, so logically it would make sense that LGBTQ individuals would want to go there.

Unfortunately, with this new law, which the House voted in with 396 in favor and 99 opposed, Italy will accept people fleeing from war-stricken countries and reject people who are seeking asylum due to humanitarian reasons. Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini was the one who fought for this law. Salvini also acts as the Federal Secretary of the Lega Nord, a party that has been shown to be anti-LGBTQ. The party's Minister for Family, Lorenzo Fontana has said that gay families "don't exist." 

Italy, as a nation, does not recognize same-sex relationships as legitimate, as same-sex couples who live together, according to Fontana, "don't exist at the moment; as far as the law concerned." Salvini has said that he is willing to host women and children but refuses to host all others because he does not want to be "seen as an idiot." 

This new law will only allow LGBTQ people who somehow obtain a permit will only be able to stay in Italy for one year and the permit cannot be converted to a work permit, contrasting the past laws that allowed LGBTQ to obtain a two-year humanitarian permit that could be converted into a work permit.

It's sad to think that a country would not allow someone who fears for their life to feel safe by seeking asylum in a less regressive area, but it is not really that surprising. The President of the Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti, Yuri Guaiana, mentioned that the Italian government is in the process of compiling a list of safe countries for LGBTQ refugees, but fears that the safe countries will actually turn out to be hostile.

Let's hope that that's not the case. 


h/t: Gay Times, Washington Post

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