The referendum in Ireland has overshadowed an event that is arguably of almost equal significance: last Thursday's celebration by the Roman city government of that city's first homosexual "civil unions". It might not be long before most of the rest of Italy follows suite, as the current Italian government is pushing for homosexual "civil unions" to be recognized within this Spring.
Rome celebrates first gay civil unions
Twenty couples seal their commitment at City Hall
(ANSA) - Rome, May 21 - Rome's brand-new civil unions registry kicked off Thursday as 20 couples - 14 of them gay and six straight - sealed their commitment to one another at City Hall. Actors Michela Andreozzi and Massimiliano Vado were first in line to celebrate their civil union on what center-left Mayor Ignazio Marino has called Celebration Day.
Rome's city council in January approved the establishment of a special register for civil unions. The controversial move was backed by Marino, who hails from the ruling Democratic Party (PD), his centre-left coalition and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S). The New Center Right (NCD), Silvio Berlusconi's center-right Forza Italia (FI) and the rightwing Brothers of Italy (FdI) parties voted against. The Rome mayor, who has long favored the recognition of civil unions, was on hand for the vote that he called a "historic milestone".
The European Parliament in March called on EU member states that have not already done so, to recognise civil unions and same-sex marriage as a civil and human right.
Premier Matteo Renzi has said his government wants a civil unions bill approved sometime this year.