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Italy passes bill to recognize same-sex unions

Italy approves recognition of same-sex unions
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Italian Members of Parliament (MPs) have voted to recognize same-sex partnerships in that country.

Although not as inclusive as supporters would have liked, this historic vote establishes Italy as the final Western democracy to legalize same-sex unions despite overwhelming opposition from the Catholic Church.

The vote, 369-193, in favor of the bill, was cast on Wednesday, by MPs in the lower house. Their approval should secure that the proposal will become law.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi posted his approval via Facebook this morning, “today is a day of celebration for so many.”

However, as historic as this vote is, the bill is only a compromise of an original measure that was watered-down by the Italian Senate.

Here are some of the components of the approved bill:

  • Does not go as far as civil union laws elsewhere in Europe, the US and Canada, critics say
  • Clause that would have enabled gay people to adopt a partner's biological children was dropped
  • No blanket ban on adoption, but family judges will decide on a case-by-case basis
  • Requirement for gay couples to pledge loyalty was dropped - to make civil union less like marriage
  • Gay couples get right to take each other's names and receive deceased partner's pension

Senator Monica Cirrina (Democratic Party), the bill’s main sponsor, said this is a “first step.” But she is concerned with the omission of the right to adopt a partner’s children.

"This is a very important measure,” she said, “but I am also thinking of the children of so many friends."

Prime Minister Renzi projected his happiness for the passage of the bill in his Facebook feed this morning, reaffirming his support for the LGBT community:

“It is a day of celebration for many today. For anyone who feels finally recognised.

For who sees after years that they are being returned by civil rights so that we don't need any other adjectives

For anyone who has had a hard time tonight and get some sleep for who for days he writes us wondering where celebrate, for those who simply is no longer in the skin.

It is a day of celebration for many today. In these crucial hours I keep close in my heart the thought and the memory of Alessia. And that's enough for me. Because the laws are made for people, not for ideologies.

For those who love, not for who proclaims.

Let's write another page important of Italy that we want.

We do this by putting the trust because they were not possible further delays after years of failed attempts.

We do it with humility and courage. But we do it now because in Italy it is no longer possible to continue postponing everything.”

Finalization of the bill is expected to be complete late Wednesday.