The Italian Senate is set to vote on a bill that, if passed, would recognise same-sex civil unions under law.
A bill to give legal recognition and protection to same-sex couples in Italy was presented to parliament in October 2015 by Senator Monica Cirinna, and senators are now set to vote on January 28.
“We are finally here with a civil union bill that is very strong,” Cirinna said in October.
While the proposed law doesn’t offer the same benefits as marriage, it provides automatic inheritance should their partner die, along with a share of the deceased’s pension.
The bill also states that in the event of the death of one partner, the other may adopt their child. Lawmakers hope that this will pave the way for full adoption rights for same-sex couples.
“It is not exactly equal to other marriages, which I would have preferred, but it is a bill that recognises all social rights,” said Cirinna.
Italy is the only major country in the West that has not yet does not offer any legal protection for same-sex couples.
LGBT advocacy group AllOut released a statement and started a petition urging people worldwide to support LGBT Italians in their fight for equality. “Italy is the last country in Western Europe which doesn’t recognise same-sex relationships,” it read.
“This bill has been proposed before – and every single time, anti-gay opponents defeated it before it even hit the floor.
“Our partners in Italy are organising marches across the country to support equality. If we can create a huge outcry online, our combined efforts could be enough to drown out those anti-gay voices and make sure this bill is passed once and for all.”
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