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In a move seen by critics as a delaying tactic, Italy’s upper chamber of parliament has postponed voting on its own same-sex unions bill by a week.
Italy is now the last country in the whole of Western Europe without any kind of legislation for same-sex partnerships – even Ireland voted same-sex marriage in with a public referendum. A largely Catholic nation, it has been told to re-examine the current situation for same-sex unions both by its own constitutional court and by the European Court of Human Rights.
Democratic Party (PD) senator Andrea Marcucci denies complaints that this delay signifies an intention to put off the vote indefinitely by sending the bill back to committee level.
Marcucci said, ‘We decided to take a week’s time to properly discuss what to do.
‘Delaying the [vote] by a few days only serves to save the bill.’
On Tuesday the senate rejected a proposal by the Democratic Party to fast-track the bill, which they had sought to prevent thousands of obstructionist amendments watering down the bill.
The Democratic Party currently blames the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Although the Five Star Movement supports the law in principle, it disagrees with the senate’s plans to shortcut the process, opening the bill up to further debate.
Conservatives in opposition and in the ruling coalition have indicated they would back the law if it was watered down. One of the key elements conservatives want to scrap is an adoption clause that would grant a gay or bisexual spouse the right to adopt any stepchildren they may have.
Democratic Party member Monica Cirinna, meanwhile, has threatened to resign if the bill is watered down.
She wrote on social media: ‘I was wrong to trust [the Five Star Movement]. If the law becomes a piece of garbage I am ready to withdraw my signature [from it] and leave politics.’
Last month, protests both for and against same-sex marriage saw more than a million attendees in each instance, reflecting the rift between traditionalist and modernist Italy.
Corriere della Sera Daily published the results of a poll on Sunday which showed a 52-38 per cent majority in favour of same-sex unions. However, 54 per cent of Italians did not want the stepchild adoption clause to remain.