Italy: recognition of same-sex civil unions

Italy’s parliament has backed same-sex civil unions in a vote of confidence on 11 may 2016 for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Until this vote, Italy had been the last major Western democracy not to legally recognise gay partnerships. Recognition of same-sex partnership has been highly controversial in Italy, facing strong opposition from Catholic conservatives. MPs in the lower house voted 369-193 for the government. Final approval of the law is expected on 12 may 2016. Ahead of the vote, Mr Renzi wrote on Facebook that “today is a day of celebration for so many”.

Human Rights Watch recalls that since 2010, a number of Italian courts have ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to partnership recognition, and major cities, including Rome and Milan, have allowed same-sex couples to symbolically register marriages conducted abroad. In July 2015, the European Court of Human Rights held that Italy violated the right to privacy and family life in failing to provide sufficient and reliable legal protection for same-sex relationships. Civil unions are not the same as same-sex marriage, which is legal in several EU member states : Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, excluding Northern Ireland.

More information can be found via the following links: Human Rights Watch: Italy: Same-Sex Civil Unions Made Possible After Vote, Adoption Still Lacking  BBC: Italian MPs back same-sex unions in vote for Renzi Le Monde: L’Italie donne son feu vert pour créer une union civile ouverte aux homosexuels