italy legalizes same-sex civil unions

After three decades of campaigning, Italy makes a step in the right direction towards equality.

by Tish Weinstock
12 May 2016, 9:17pm

Following in the footsteps of almost every western country in the world, and three decades (!) of campaigning by gay rights groups, the Italian Parliament has finally sanctioned a new law that legalizes same-sex civil unions. Hooray!

Despite being approved by the Senate in February, and supported by Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, the bill had not been able to take effect until a final vote had been cast. Held at the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Parliament, yesterday's vote — 372 to 51, with 99 abstentions — was met with a round of applause, as people carrying rainbow flags congregated at Rome's iconic Trevi Fountain to celebrate this historic victory. "The wall erected mostly by the Vatican against civil rights in this country has fallen," said Franco Grillini, the honorary president of gay rights advocacy group Arcigay, told the New York Times. "It is a historically and politically important moment."

While it is undeniably a historic moment, the law falls short of legalizing same-sex marriages. It also does not allow for a same-sex couple to legally adopt their partner's biological child due to opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, where traditional family norms are still upheld under the guidance of Pope Francis. A victory, yes, but also an reminder of how far Italy still has to come.


Text Tish Weinstock

Gay Rights