From the Italian Prime Minister's Office, the bill for the new Civil Unions (acronym: DICO):
The Presidency of the Council of Ministers [the Prime Minister's Office] informs:
The Council of Ministers [the Cabinet] met today [Feb. 08] at 1730 at Chigi Palace, under the Presidency of the President of the Council, Romano Prodi.
The Council examined and approved, at the proposition of the Minister for Rights and Equal Opportunity, Barbara Pollastrini, and of the Minister for Family Policies, Rosy Bindi, a bill on the subject of rights and duties for stably living couples (DICO). The measure aims to protect the weaker parties of the couple, thus overcoming disparities and inequalities among citizens.
In obedience to articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution [of the Italian Republic, on human rights and equal rights], the bill clarifies and details the rights and duties of persons, including those of the same sex, who have given life to [dato vita: established] stable cohabitations, linked by bonds of affection, solidarity, or mutual assistance; therefore, the sole limitations refer to the existence of marital bonds, kinship (of a direct kind), kinship by marriage, adoptions, and similar [situations].
Some rights --such as assistance in case of disease..., possibility of decision making in matters of medical assistance or in case of death... -- are to be immediately enjoyed; other rights -- the possibility of legitimate inheritance... -- are instead linked to a minimal period [of relationship]... .
The communiqué also mentions that these civil unions do not violate Article 29 of the Italian Constitution (on marriage) and do not establish a "para-matrimonial" status. The bill now goes to Parliament.