Rome yesterday (January 28) recognized gay civil unions by approving the establishment of a civil union register for same-sex couples.
The city council voted in an amendment saying that gay marriages contracted abroad are to be automatically transcribed into the newly created register.
Mayor Ignazio Marino hailed the controversial move a ‘historic milestone’ and thanked all the councilors who voted for the registry.
‘Today the capital of Italy gives the signal that, in this city, love is the same for everyone. So I want to express my satisfaction with this important step, which is not only an act of civility and respect for people, but aligns us with the rest of the western world, in line with the main European countries with whom we share our history and cultural politics,’ he said after the vote.
‘I can not overemphasize also the symbolic value of the measure. Many Italian administrations, today, expect a national law that finally enshrines equal rights for all. Rome, by this example, hopes to help unlock the hesitations of legislators who, for too many years now, have evaded full recognition of the legal and civil rights of all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.’
Marino is a long-standing proponent of gay marriage and is one of several mayors who defied orders from Interior Minister Angelino Alfano not to transcribe gay marriage contracted abroad into local registers.
Gay civil unions or marriage are not legal in Italy. However, the recognition of gay marriages contracted abroad, especially in countries with which Italy is bound by treaties, is a matter of debate.
Arcigay, Italy’s leading gay rights group, welcomed the vote.
‘Finally! For Rome this vote feels like a liberation,’ Arcigay president Flavio Romani said in a statement.