The lower house of the Italian parliament voted on Tuesday not to approve a bill that would protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Pink News reports on the defeat in the Chamber of Deputies, which rejected the bill by a vote of 293 to 250. In response, gay rights advocates in Italy have begun to call for help from the European Union.
"Italy already bans discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, ethnicity and nationality, but campaigners say rising numbers of homophobic and transphobic attacks means LGBT people need more protection," reports Pink News.
Conservatives aligned with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dominate the lower house of parliament. Berlusconi is known for his opposition to gay rights, where last year he responded to criticism about alleged affairs with minors by saying, "It's better to be passionate about beautiful girls than gay."