This image, posted online by Rome’s mayor, reads: “In Rome love counts. Approval of the register of civil unions.“
City councillors in Rome have voted to start registering civil unions between gay and lesbian couples, defying the Italian government’s inaction on the issue and Catholic opposition.
According to The Local, the motion was passed on Thursday with 32 votes in favour, 10 against and one abstention.
Activists and members of the LGBT community greeted the move with applause, kisses and the release of heart-shaped balloons outside city hall.
It’s not clear what benefits couples who enter into these city-based civil unions will receive, but it’s at the very least a symbolic gesture reflecting a desire among many Italians for the country to join other European nations in recognising these relationships.
In a statement, Rome’s Mayor, Ignazio Marino, said that the move “puts our city more and more in the forefront of the rights of individuals and the recognition of stable and durable emotional ties.”
He added that, “Today the capital of Italy gives the signal that, in this city, love is the same for everyone.”
Marino further called for “a national law that finally enshrines equal rights for all when it comes to love.”
Over the last 20 years numerous bills to recognise same-sex relationships have been rejected by the Italian Parliament in large part due to opposition from the Catholic Church.
Like Rome, some Italian cities and regions have passed largely symbolic resolutions in support of same-sex civil unions.