Five Star Movement (M5S) politicians, currently the most powerful political party in Italy, staged a kissing protest this week during a parliamentary debate over an anti-discrimination bill that would extend protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens.
M5S politicians interrupted the debate on Thursday by standing simultaneously in a display of solidarity while kissing and hugging one another. Other members of the political party reportedly stood holding signs that called for "more rights" for LGBT individuals.
The bill passed the lower house of parliament with a vote of 354-79.
LGBT activist groups in Italy are reportedly unhappy with the bill itself, as it "intends to penalize homophobia and transphobia but still protects the 'opinions expressed within political, cultural or religious organizations,' allowing groups to continue making homophobic comments."
Kissing between same-sex individuals has become a powerful form of protest within the political and social battle for gay rights, sending a universally recognized non-verbal and direct message. Two women famously kissed in front of a large-scale anti-gay protest in France late last year, much to the outrage and dismay of those demonstrating at the event. Individuals also took part in a kiss-in protest during Pope Francis' visit to Brazil last July, and LGBT people kissed publicly at Chick-Fil-A franchises across the country as the polarizing corporation experienced long-term backlash for its professed donations to anti-gay organizations.
On the flip side, same-sex kissing as a form of protest is often met with violence, as the world has seen on several occasions in Russia this year alone.
After passing the lower house, the anti-homophobia bill must now make it through the Italian senate before being signed into law. Check out footage of the protest below:
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place