Current Affairs

Italian Prime Minister may use confidence vote to pass civil unions

Joseph McCormick February 21, 2016
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Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said he is considering using a confidence vote on civil unions.

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 Italy.


In order to ensure the passage of the civil union bill, Renzi said his party is considering the measure.

Speaking to his Democratic Party members on Sunday, Renzi said he is “ready” to allow a vote of confidence.

Catholic Senators, who have proven difficult in getting the bill through, have objected to a provision which allows gay couples to adopt.

One of Renzi’s coalition party leaders have said the adoption measure should be removed from the bill.

Renzi is said to have become increasingly frustrated that the measure for civil unions is being stalled.

His party will decide on a strategy this week. Renzi is expected to step down if a confidence vote happens and the bill is defeated.

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 last week – 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.

Meanwhile in Australia, new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and his predecessor Tony Abbott, have both refused to allow a conscience vote, insisting that coalition MPs vote against any measure for marriage equality.

Instead, they have opted for a costly plebiscite, or public vote, which could take months or years to come by.

More: Catholic, civil unions, Europe, Italy, Italy, Matteo Renzi

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