Italy Squeaking Along With LGBT Rights

Once again, we take a step forward! But only just big enough so that we’re not condemned by the European Court of Human Rights anymore…

The  Italian Chamber of Deputies’ approval of the civil unions bill on May 11, 2016 is an important step toward equality.

But, when it comes to my country, there always has to be a downside

“The approval of the civil union law is a milestone in the struggle toward legal recognition for same sex-couples in Italy,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights program at Human Rights Watch. “But restrictive adoption provisions for same-sex couples deny some children the legal protection and security they deserve.”

The Civil Union Act is a watered down version of a bill first introduced by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party in 2014. While opponents introduced thousands of amendments, the most controversial provision in the original bill would have given a partner in a same-sex couple the right to adopt their partner’s children. In February, the Senate approved a compromise text that removed this option, paving the way for the vote in the Chamber of Deputies. According to article 73 of the Italian Constitution, the President of the Republic needs to promulgate the law. It is expected he will do so.

So there is still hope! We just have to wait… and talk about it… and wait…

In the last two months, courts have ruled that parents in lesbian or gay relationships are allowed to adopt each other’s children or a newborn child from a surrogate mother. In three separate rulings in March, the Rome Juvenile Court said it interprets the existing law on adoption in such a way that it should take into consideration social emergencies that urge recognition of new forms of parenthood. The court also urged the legislature to adopt more proactive adoption legislation, accommodating new family models.


Ah Italy, such a land of contradictions when it comes to rights. Did you know that Italy was the first country in Europe to elect an openly transgendered member of Parliament? One that, before becoming a politician, was known for cabaret performances and owning drag bars? At the same time, they’re hemming and hawing over giving their citizens full marriage equality. Since the 70s, abortion has been legal and women stopped taking their husbands name when they get married, and yet we’re still allowing doctors to “morally object” to providing abortions, and getting a divorce was a damned nightmare up until a couple of years ago.

The fact of the matter is, despite being a secular government, the Catholic Church has an annoyingly powerful sway over the people. It’s an insidious infiltration of the culture, so that people think these things are “normal”, and forget that it is officially a secular nation.

Well, at least we’re moving in the right direction. Keep going Italy! Keep fighting.



  1. anat says

    How common is it for Italian doctors to ‘morally object’ to providing a form of medical care? How easy is it to find a doctor that will do their job?

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      When it comes to abortion, it depends heavily on what part of the country. In the big cities it isn’t a problem, but if you’re in a small town in the South, or in a heavily Catholic region of the North like Veneto, you might find that all of the ob/gyns in your local hospital are contientiuos objectors. It’s a problem, and one that is being spoken about more and more in recent years.

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