New reports have suggested the Vatican could be ready to back civil unions for gay couples as the ‘lesser of two evils’.
The Secretary of State of the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, as well as the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), the assembly of bishops in Italy, are reportedly ready to reluctantly support a move towards equality.
Their hand is being forced as the European Court of Human Rights has said that as a major European country, Italy must provide same-sex couples with some form of union.
With the courts allowing a marriage between a trans woman and a cis man to stand, it appears the more conservative organizations are desperate to stop same-sex marriages from happening.
According to the Giornale, The Vatican and the CEI would give a green light to civil unions and also step-child adoption.
While many bishops would prefer same-sex couples to have no rights, the newspaper suggests that if couples are denied civil unions for much longer it will only lead to the courts forcing the country to pass full marriage equality.
‘Given the rulings of courts both here and across the world giving rights to gay and lesbian couples and their families, to approve civil unions would represent the “lesser evil” against the risk that of being forced to extend marriage to same-sex couples,’ they say.
If an announcement is made saying the Vatican is ready to support civil unions reluctantly, it wouldn’t be the first time. In 2006, they said they would support condoms as the ‘lesser of two evils’ in the fight against AIDS.
Flavio Romani, president of Italy’s main LGBTI rights organization Arcigay, told Gay Star News in a statement that it doesn’t matter or not if the Vatican chooses to support civil unions.
‘We don’t need the Church to authorize or tolerate our relationships,’ he said. ‘We concentrate our attention on Parliament and we believe in our constitution: this is enough. This must be enough.’
The Lower House of Italy’s parliament passed a motion on gay civil unions for the first time on 10 June, with several similar measures being rejected in the past.
The motion, proposed by the ruling Democratic Party, commits the government ‘to promote the adoption of a law on civil unions, particularly with regard to the condition of the people of same sex.’
The government must also ‘ensure equal treatment throughout the nation.’
Premier Matteo Renzi and Justice Minister Andrea Orlando have both long called for a civil unions law.
After Ireland legalized gay marriage by referendum in May, Renzi said: ‘Civil unions cannot be delayed any longer.’