Celebrations as Italy Legalises Same-Sex Civil Unions

The Italian Parliament has approved a bill establishing civil unions for same-sex couples, after years of LGBTI activism and fierce opposition from the country’s Roman Catholic Church.

The bill, passed 372 to 51 with 99 politicians abstaining, gives gay couples the right to share a surname, draw on their partner’s pension when they die, and inherit each other’s assets in the same way as married people.

“It is a day of celebration for many today. For anyone who finally feels recognised,” Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wrote on Facebook before the vote.

“Let’s write another important page of the Italy that we want. … It is no longer acceptable to have any more delays on this bill after years of failed attempts.”

“The wall erected mostly by the Vatican against civil rights in this country has fallen, so it is a historically and politically important moment,” Franco Grillini, president of the Italian LGBTI group Arcigay, told the New York Times.

But the Italian civil union scheme falls short compared to similar schemes in other countries, LGBTI rights groups said, and the fight for full LGBTI equality in Italy must continue.

“The approval of the civil union law is a milestone in the struggle toward legal recognition for same-sex couples in Italy,” Human Rights Watch’s Boris Dittrich said.

“But restrictive adoption provisions for same-sex couples deny some children the legal protection and security they deserve.”

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