Italy’s civil unions bill has finally cleared a hurdle in the Senate – but only after axing some of the bill’s most basic provisions.
Italy is currently discussing proposals for same-sex civil unions, but the legislation has attracted strong opposition from the Catholic church, sparking rebellions from Catholic lawmakers.
After meeting with MPs from his own party last week, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi agreed to amend the bill to drop proposals that would recognise same-sex parenting and adoption.
The amended bill was apparently enough to satisfy the rebels – passing through the country’s Senate on a 173-71 vote, after the compromise deal was reached.
Though the legislation brings some limited rights to same-sex couples, the watered down version has attracted negative responses from LGBT groups, angry at the governments “betrayal” on the issue which guts it of many legal protections.
Marilena Grassadonia of Rainbow Families said: “We are outraged, angry, disappointed.
“We can’t believe that in 2016 … in a country like Italy which is so proud to be part of this Europe, that it’s possible to make a law on civil unions without considering children who should be protected as Italian citizens and discriminated minors.”
Flavio Romani of rights group Arcigay added :This text once again does not take into consideration children who need definite laws and protection. The law that has come out of all this is lacking its heart.”
Under Italian law, judges can already grant adoptions to same-sex partners on a ‘case by case’ basis. This system is expected to remain unchanged after Renzi opted to gut the bill’s adoption proposals
Rainbow Families says the decision to remove the adoption rights amounted to the “emptying out” of a bill that was already a “modest compromise”, as it doesn’t recognise same-sex marriages.
The bill came about after the European Court of Human Rights upheld complaints of discrimination by same-sex couples, who currently have no legal rights in Italy
However, it 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 – leading Prime Minister Renzi to tell the Church to keep out of the debate, given the legislation does not actually impact religious marriage.
Amid a debate around the bill, a group of senators also proposed prison sentences for gay couples who use overseas surrogates.