LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

The journey towards civil unions for same-sex couples in Italy

On Thursday 28 January, the Italian Senate will discuss a bill on civil unions for same-sex and different-sex couples and second parent adoption for same-sex couples. But Thursday’s discussion is only part of the story. Even if the senators agree and eventually vote in favour, we still need to be patient. Many more steps need to be taken before we can open the prosecco bottles!

Here is a very short, simplified  overview of the legislative journey that needs to be navigated:

Long and bumpy. That is probably a good description of the journey towards civil unions for same-sex couples in Italy. The Italian LGBTI movement has been advocating for legal recognition of same-sex couples for a long time. Last weekend, over a million people in Italy (and in cities all over Europe) came out onto the streets with the message #WakeUpItaly (in Italian #SvegliatItalia). Let’s hope the Italian politicians heard that message loud and clear.

So what is ahead for the civil unions bill in Italy?

The Italian parliament consists of two houses, the Senate (the upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house).

The role of the Senate

The civil unions bill has already been through the Senate committee stage. On Thursday 28 January, the bill will be introduced to the entire Senate, along with a long list of proposed amendments. It is still unclear how the senators will propose dealing with the large number of amendments but the sheer number of them means that it is not likely to be a very fast process.  When these procedural items are sorted, the Senate will vote.

The Italian LGBTI movement has been advocating for a full and open vote on all elements of the bill to allow for full transparency.

The role of the Chamber of Deputies

If the bill passes in the Senate, then the same text will need to be approved by committees in the Chamber of Deputies. After that, the bill will be voted on in the Chamber of Deputies itself. However, the text of the bill passed by both houses must be identical before the president can sign it. If the Chamber suggests amendments, then it will need to go back to be approved by the Senate.

As you can see it is a long journey. Let’s support same-sex couples and their families. ILGA-Europe call on Italy’s political leaders to hear the public’s wake-up call to pass this important legislation quickly and without any further delay or compromise on its contents.

Staff of ILGA-Europe says #WakeUpItaly #SvegliatItalia