LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Important day as Italy becomes 27th European country to legally recognise same-sex couples

11 May is now a significant date for the Italian LGBTI movement. 

Their persistent advocacy work was rewarded today as the Italian Chamber of Deputies voted in favour of a civil union bill in a final vote. This means that same-sex couples in Italy are legally recognised for the first time. 

ILGA-Europe warmly welcome this news and are looking forward to the imminent signature of the civil unions bill by President Mattarella. 372 MPs voted in favour of the bill, 51 against, and 99 abstained from voting. 

The news of the civil union vote comes only 24 hours after ILGA-Europe’s latest Rainbow Europe package was launched. Before the vote in the Chamber of Deputies today, Italy achieved a score of 20% (one of the lowest scores among the 28 EU members) when ranked on its legal and policy situation for LGBTI people.

The new legislation provides for equality in matters of tax, social security and inheritance. However, the situation of rainbow families in Italy was overlooked as proposals to include second-parent adoption in the civil union bill were removed prior to the Senate’s vote on 25 February. ILGA-Europe realise the significance of today’s vote but also urge Italian lawmakers to examine ways to protect rainbow families and their children without delay. 

As part of yesterday’s Rainbow Europe 2016 launch, ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis had stressed the need for European governments to guard against the ‘complacency curse’ and to keep working for greater equality for all LGBTI people.

Legal recognition for same-sex couples is a great step forward for Italian society – but it cannot be the final step. The Italian LGBTI community, their families and friends deserve to be fully protected and recognised by their state.  Another point raised by ILGA-Europe in our Rainbow Europe 2016 package is the need for governments to ensure that laws actively improve the daily lives of LGBTI people. The true value of today’s vote will be found in how effectively this new legislation is implemented.