Italy will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first symbolic same-sex marriages tomorrow (27 June) in Milan.
In 1992, local councillor Paolo Hutter ‘married’ 10 couplese, nine formed by men, one by women.
Tomorrow, in Piazza della Scala, in front of Palazzo Marino, Milan’s town hall, LGBT associations and Coordinamento Arcobaleno will give the passers-by little bags of rice, to symbolize good luck in marriages, and will conduct a survey.
They will ask people if they would prefer a proper marriage or civil partnerships for same-sex couples, in a bid to boost the debate, among Milanesi - the city's locals.
Sadly Ivan Dragoni and Gianni Delle Foglie, the two gay men who promoted the marriage 20 years ago, will not be there. Both have died some years ago.
One activist remembers: ‘Milanesi were so surprised by the marriage, but then they loved it. The taxi driver who accompanied Ivan and Gianni to the event didn’t want to be paid.’
Italy does not have any law protecting same-sex couples. There’s no marriage or civil partnership.
Local councils are starting to set up a Registro delle Unioni Civili, where people can register as couples. But these unions don’t come with any legal rights or responsibilities.
Hutter said: ‘Tomorrow, everyone should bring a lock. We’ll hang them in a symbolic place and we’ll unlock them only when the first law to protect same-sex couples becomes a reality.’