Italy’s Parliament has passed a bill legalising civil unions for same-sex couples.
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 earlier this year, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi agreed to amend the bill to drop proposals that would recognise same-sex parenting and adoption.
After passing through the Senate in February, the bill today cleared the Lower House Chamber of Deputies, after a confidence vote passed by 369-193 – meaning the bill will become law.
Formal approval of the law is expected later today.
Ahead of the vote, Mr Renzi said: “Today is a day of celebration for so many”.
Though the legislation brings some rights to same-sex couples, the watered down version has attracted negative responses from LGBT groups for ditching same-sex adoption.
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.