A final vote on controversial same-sex civil union legislation has been stalled in Italy, after strong opposition to the measure.
Matteo Renzi’s government has been pushing forward with a civil unions bill, after the European Court of Human Rights upheld complaints of discrimination by same-sex couples, who currently have no legal rights in Italty
The bill has stirred up resentment between the LGBT community and the country’s powerful anti-gay Catholic lobbying groups – with large rallies and political manoeuvring against the measure.
Vile signs at one rally linked to Catholic groups compared gay people to Nazis – while Prime Minister Renzi told the Church to keep out of the debate, given the legislation does not actually impact religious marriage.
The bill was set to come before the country’s Parliament for a final vote today – but it has been postponed amid political in-fighting.
According to Reuters, the delay comes amid threats of rebellion from Catholic lawmakers, who are pushing for the removal of a provision that grants limited adoption rights.
Government whip Luigi Zanda asked for the voting to be postponed until next week, allowing for “a period of reflection so we can pull the political threads back together and find the path that allows us to proceed in an orderly fashion”.
It is unclear what form this “reflection” will take – but could signal that Renzi will pare down the bill to guarantee the passage of the most substantive elements.
The delay puts yet more pressure on the government, given a previous pledge to start to register civil unions in 2016.