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Gay civil unions finally become a reality in Italy

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Gay civil unions finally become a reality in Italy
Italy became the last major country in Europe to recognize same-sex civil unions in May. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
14:43 CEST+02:00
Italy's long-awaited, much-disputed law allowing gay civil unions took effect Friday after it was published in an official journal, as couples start applying for legal recognition of their same-sex relationships.

In Milan an official went Wednesday to an intensive care unit to perform the civil union ceremony of a terminally ill 53-year-old teacher named Margherita and her partner of 28 years.
   
Theirs will be the first registered in Milan in about 10 days' time, the city told the media.
   
Throughout Italy, town halls have reported that requests for gay unions have started coming in.
   
The Italian parliament passed the landmark legislation in May overruling opposition from the country's powerful Catholic Church.
   
It introduces civil unions for the first time but denies same sex couples equal adoption rights to their heterosexual counterparts.
   
Italy was the last major Western country to introduce legal recognition of gay relationships and the law's provisions do not go as far as the gay marriage legislation enacted in other European countries such as Britain, France or Spain.
   
Some more complicated cases in Italy, such as couples of different nationalities who got married overseas, will have to wait a bit longer until a definitive decree of the new law is made by early December.

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