Italy to begin civil union debate in September

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Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said gay couples will have the same rights as straight married ones. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
08:35 CEST+02:00
UPDATED: Italy’s government will begin debating a law on civil unions in September, a move that could give gay couples the same rights as heterosexual married ones, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has announced.

Renzi was quoted in La Repubblica on Tuesday saying “gay rights will be the same as those for married heterosexual couples.”

In a move the newspaper described as the “rainbow revolution”, gay couples could be entitled to benefits including inheritance guarantees, welfare assistance and be able to claim a deceased partner’s pension.

The marriages of gay couples who wed abroad would also be officially registered.

The proposals have been inspired by both the UK and Germany’s civil partnership model, the newspaper said.

However, the Italian model will likely differ when it comes to adoption: a partner will only be able to adopt the child of the natural parent in the union should he or she die.

Rights for gay couples formed part of Renzi’s campaign during the Democratic Party’s primary elections last year.

“We must now achieve this commitment,” he was quoted in Il Giornale as saying, adding that “there will be no second thoughts.”

Monica Cirinnà, a Democratic Party senator who sits on the Justice Commission, said a number of proposals have been brought together in two sets of text, which will be put to the Senate.

Ivan Scalfattorotto, the party’s vice president, welcomed the proposals but said, “In an ideal world, Italy would also recognize gay marriage.”

The gay politician was also quoted in La Repubblica as saying the debate on an anti-homophobia bill, which was put to the Senate last year but is yet to be made law, should also be revived.

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A report in May revealed that Italy lags far behind in Europe when it comes to gay rights.

READ MORE HERE: Italy lags far behind in Europe on gay rights

Meanwhile, Malta has made the greatest leap in recent times: in April, the government voted to allow same-sex couples to enter civil unions and adopt children. The country has also banned discrimination against transgender people.

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