A minor Italian Church has celebrated a same-sex ‘pact of love’ between two men near Naples, Italy, Saturday morning.
It was the first same-sex union celebrated in the Campania region and one of the first unions celebrated in southern Italy.
The pact, called ‘marriage’ by the two newly-wed husbands and by the local press, is not valid under the Italian law, but has been welcomed by the Italian LGBT community.
‘This is not a valid union, but it is an enormous step towards equality,’ Aniello D’Angelo, the priest who celebrated the ceremony, told Gay Star News.
The Chiesa Cristiana Ecumenica Cattolica Apostolica is a new Church founded last September in Naples by a community of religious gay, lesbian, straight and divorced men and women.
The two husbands, 40 and 39, got married at home and celebrated with a big lunch at a Neapolitan restaurant.
D’Angelo added: ‘It was a wonderful celebration of love. There was the blessing, there were the rings, there were their families, with children as well.’
The Chiesa Cristiana Ecumenica Cattolica Apostolica is not officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, but is completely legal in Italy.
D’Angelo explained: ‘Every Sunday, hundreds of religious men and women come to Palinuro, near Salerno, for the mass.
‘Our structure is like those of the ancient Churches of the early Christian ages.
‘Now, after last Saturday’s ceremony, several couples are asking me how to get married. This is wonderful.’
Italy does not yet recognize civil partnerships, same-sex unions or gay marriage.
Several Italian cities are adopting the Registri delle Unioni Civili, to give same-sex couples rights in local benefits and local welfare.