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Universal depenalization for homosexuals

France proposed a universal depenalization for the crime of homosexuality at the United Nations, and following the reactions of the Vatican on this issue, Italian Protestants raised their voice in favor of the proposal. Pastor Domenico Maselli, President of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), said: "I am very pleased about the French initiative, in the name of the European Union. This is all the more necessary in view of the fact that in some countries the presumed crime of homosexuality carries with it the death penalty, and therefore this is not only an act of justice, but an addition to the position already taken by the UN with the moratorium on the death penalty".

Giorgio Rainelli, President of the Evangelical Network of Faith and Homosexuality (REFO), strongly supports the idea hoping that "this proposal be approved as fast as possible to avoid that homosexual people become yet again the target of legalized violence and further discrimination". For Rainelli the "depenalization of the crime of homosexuality would be a great step ahead in the struggle against homophobia. The REFO invites all believers – without distinction of race or sexual orientation – to uphold in their ecclesiastical realities the welcoming and the sharing of homosexual and transsexual people, and to commit themselves actively to the struggle against homophobia".

The gay and lesbians of VARCO of Milan, a group connected to REFO, published an open letter urging the reproposal of a document of the Baptist, Methodist and Waldensian Churches approved in the 2007 joint Assembly of these denominations in favor of the welcoming of homosexuals. For VARCO "the declarations of Mons. Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations in merit of the Vatican's disapproval of the French proposal, is in fact showing its opposition to the saving of millions of human lives". And VARCO speaks out on "an unacceptable discriminatory attack against homosexual people on the part of the Vatican hierarchy". There are 91 countries in which violence, oppression and discrimination are regularly perpetrated against homosexuals, while there are about ten Muslim countries where capital punishment still continues.

From press service NEV - Notizie evangeliche, 30 December 2008

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