Italy's centre-right leader open to gay unions

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Angelino Alfano clarified that he was still against gay marriage or adoption by gay couples. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
15:01 CEST+02:00
Angelino Alfano, Italy's interior minister and leader of the New Centre-Right (NCD) party, has said he is open to discussing making civil partnerships for gay couples legal in Italy.

Alfano said his party was “ready for an acceleration of these kinds of legal protections” and open to discussion on the topic.

Earlier this year, the interior minister threatened to pull his support for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi if the premier put gay marriage on the table. But in an interview with La Repubblica newspaper on Thursday, the interior minister denied that he had changed his mind on the subject.

He cited “three limits” to his offer of dialogue: “no to gay marriage, no to gay adoption or to renting wombs.”

Despite gay marriage not being legal in Italy, in some parts of the country gay couples have recently won the right to have their foreign weddings added to the civil register.

READ MORE: First gay marriage to be registered in Naples

Alfano’s statement comes just days after Silvio Berlusconi, leader the centre-right Forza Italia party, came out in support of gay rights.

“The [fight] for civil rights for homosexuals is a fight that in a truly modern and democratic country should be everyone's responsibility,” Berlusconi said, a significant shift for the politician who has made homophobic remarks in the past.

READ MORE: Berlusconi speaks out in support of gay rights

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Alfano refused to comment on the change in tone from the former prime minister, from whose party he broke away last year to form the NCD.

Last year gay rights organization ILGA-Europe criticized the lack of legislation in Italy, citing “unwillingness from the political class” to discuss “marriage equality and other rights”.

In May, ILGA-Europe ranked Italy 32nd out of 49 countries for the legal human rights situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people, although said that some improvements had been made over the past year. 

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