Italy leaves gay couples waiting at the altar
By Isla Binnie and Crispian Balmer
ROME (Reuters) - Rosario Murdica and Gianni Finocchietti always wanted to get married in Italy, but after 30 years together they lost hope of ever tying the knot in their home country and instead said their vows in Portugal.
Italy is the last major country in the West that has not given same-sex couples any legal recognition, and was condemned this year by the European Court of Human Rights for failing to introduce long-delayed legislation.
Center-left Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised a bill allowing civil unions would be approved by year-end, after more than two decades of failed attempts by various parties.
Despite only aiming to legalize civil partnerships with limited rights that fall short of full gay marriage, the bill has been held up, highlighting Italy's struggle to go against Roman Catholic teaching.
The delay also reveals frictions within Renzi's disparate coalition and raises questions about his ability to push aside powerful lobbies that have stymied reform in the past.
The political shenanigans, which prompted a junior minister to go on hunger strike earlier this year in an effort to speed up the process, have angered homosexual couples.
"There is no difference between love. There is no difference between us and heterosexual couples. We are not asking for any special favors," said Murdica, 57, a labor market researcher.
"We are tired of being treated like second-class citizens," said his partner, Finocchietti, 61, a university researcher. Continued...