Hundreds of thousands protest against gay unions in Italy


italy_demonstrates_against_same_sex_unions_in_romeHundreds of thousands of people have turned out to protest against moves to legalise same-sex unions in Italy, the last major European nation to still not recognise lesbian and gay relationships.

The massive predominantly Catholic crowd gathered at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday to mark the so-called “Family Day.”

Protesters not only demonstrated against allowing gay and lesbian couples to register their unions but also plans to allow gay people to adopt their partner’s biological children.

The long-awaited legislation is currently being considered by the Italian Parliament which is expected to vote on the matter this month.

“The traditional family is based exclusively on a man and a woman. We don’t want to deprive children of the right to have a father and a mother,” one participant told the BBC.

Another commented: “These unions are very easy to form but also easy to collapse. Instead, we think that the family has great value and this law can destroy it.”

Saturday’s rally followed large demonstrations in favour of same-sex unions held across Italy last month.

Italy, the home of the Catholic Church, is the Vatican’s final hold-out against same-sex unions in Western Europe. The church has campaigned, increasingly ineffectually, against their legalisation around the world.

In February last year, Italy’s highest court found that the country’s constitution does not give same-sex couples the automatic right to marriage but said that they must be granted the same protections under the law as other unmarried cohabiting couples.

In July, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy was violating the human rights of gay and lesbian couples by not affording them any legal recognition.

A 2013 poll found that almost 80% of Italians support allowing same-sex couples to register their relationships.

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