With the recent decision released in Ireland that legalizes same sex marriage during a historic referendum, Italy is currently the sole country in Western Europe that is not recognizing both civil unions and same sex marriage. What does this implicate among the Italian gay men and lesbian singles, then?
Following the momentous Irish vote, some residents of the largely catholic and socially conservative country are starting to revive their calls for change. The members of the ruling Democratic Union Party of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has also made the move to renew their push for the legislation that is responsible for legalizing civil unions. Roberto Speranza, the leader of the Party, referred to the Irish vote as a joy, and he added that this is now the turn for Italy to do the same. Laura Boldrini, the speaker of Chamber of Deputies of Italy, took to Twitter in expressing a supportive message on the day of the historic referendum which translates that to be European means to recognize rights.
The public opinion polls also indicated that there was a progressive shift for the past few years. In fact, a poll conducted in 2013 revealed that most of the Italians favor some kind of legalized union among same sex couple, while a survey conducted in October 2014 by demos revealed that for the very first time, most of its citizens are favoring gay dating and gay marriage as a whole.
However, even though these indicators may suggest that the country of Italy is already on a straight path towards equality in marriage, there is still so much more to this whole story.
It is to be remembered that the Catholic Church remains to be vehement in opposing gay marriage and the grip of the church on the Italian society remains steadfast and strong.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the top diplomat of the Vatican, said that the gay marriage vote of Ireland was a defeat for the humanity. Unlike the archbishop of Dublin that considered the vote as a form of reality check, Parolin stated that the legalization in Ireland was a sign that the Catholic Church needs to reaffirm its commitments.
So far, Italy has the biggest population of Catholics in Europe, with more than 80% of its residents considering themselves as members of the faith in 2010. It makes it politically dangerous for the parties to go against the Catholic Church and back in 2008, the opposition of the Vatican to a bill on civil union has accelerated the demise of its center-left government.
Aside from the stances of the Catholic Church against equality in marriage, the right wing of Italy also paved way to efforts in blocking the legislation of civil union. Opponents of the civil union bill in June 2014 loaded the motion with more than 4,000 amendments as a strategy to stop this from being passed. A few weeks ago, a proposal for civil partnerships was bogged down as well by over 3,000 amendments from the parties on the right.
Also Read:How Many Countries Support Same Sex Marriage?