Pressure on Italy after Irish gay marriage vote

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Same-same couples currently have no legal status in Italy. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
10:24 CEST+02:00
The Italian government is facing increasing pressure to give same-sex couples more rights after Ireland voted to legalize gay marriage, with the president of Italy's parliament arguing it's time to legislate for civil unions.

Ireland on Saturday announced 62.1 percent of voters had given their backing to gay marriage in a historic referendum, with attention soon falling on the home of the Catholic Church.

While Pope Francis remained quiet on the issue following the vote, there have been widespread calls in Italy for same-sex couples to be given the chance to tie the knot.

Leading political parties in Rome have so far refused to legislate for gay marriage, but there is growing pressure for civil partnerships to be legalized.

Laura Boldrini, president of the country’s parliament, said the Irish vote should spur progress in Rome.

“From Ireland another push. It’s time that Italy also has a law on civil unions. To be European signifies recognizing rights,” she wrote on Twitter.

Her appeal was backed by Flavio Romani, president of rights group Arcigay, who praised Ireland for “choosing the beauty of equality”.

Hailing “the extraordinary queues of make their country a better place”, Romani said Italy must now follow suit.

“It would be enough for our MPs to seize on the occasion that the European debate offers them and create an act of high political vision, aiming at the right to equality,” he said.

Same-same couples currently have no legal status in Italy, although rebel mayors have started adding foreign gay unions to city hall records.

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The left-wing campaign has involved the mayors of both Rome and Milan, but they have faced fierce opposition from Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

Despite his criticism, Alfano has said his New-Centre Right (NDC) will support civil partnerships for gay couples. 

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