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Italy: Senate to debate same-gender marriage

ROME -- Italy's Senate plans to debate several laws that could lead to marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Starting Tuesday, the upper chamber will look at "Norme Contro Le Discriminazioni Matrimoniali" (Rules Against marriage Discrimination), a bill that would legalize same-gender marriage.

Minority parties have also put marriage bills on the table for discussion.

Observers of Italian politics doubt that the Senate will approve any of the bills, though, blaming resistance on a majority of members who are devout Catholics and under enormous pressure from The Vatican to deny marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

Italy is lagging behind other European countries that have legalized same-gender marriage, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.