Italy celebrates first gay unions as landmark reform comes into force

Civil unions between two homosexual couples were celebrated in Milan on Friday, in one of the first applications of a landmark reform on gay rights approved by the Italian parliament almost three months ago.

The bill on gay unions, which grants same-sex couples similar rights to married ones in terms of inheritance, housing and pension rights, did not come into force until July 29 because it needed implementing decrees.

Civil unions "recognize rights that had been denied for too long," Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala, who led Friday's ceremonies, wrote on the municipality's website. "Best wishes to the new grooms and brides," he added.

Some 350 same-sex couples have filed applications to form civil unions in Milan, the municipality said.

The reform is being applied unevenly across Italy, as bureaucratic delays are slowing down procedures in some cities, including Rome and Milan.

A civil union between two women was celebrated in Bologna on Wednesday, while Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino was scheduled Saturday to preside over a ceremony for two men aged 82 and 79.

The elderly couple, introduced only by their first names Franco and Gianni, was interviewed by the La Repubblica newspaper on Tuesday.

"We had to wait 52 years, unfortunately, but we finally got there, and we feel happy and proud to be able to do it: for us first, but also for people who know us, for our friends, for those who will follow our example," Gianni said.

Before the reform was passed, Italy was the last country in Western Europe that granted no legal recognition to same-sex couples. It was urged to change the status quo by its constitutional court, as well as the European Court of Human Rights.

Last update: Fri, 05/08/2016 - 18:34
Author: 

More from Europe

No agreement reached between Russia, Ukraine on gas deliveries

Russian and Ukrainian officials failed to reach an agreement on gas deliveries this winter in a first round of EU-...

Britain jails man for posting Islamic State video on Facebook

A British court sentenced a 31-year-old man to two years in prison on Friday after he was convicted of encouraging...

Latvian police fine couple after monumental public sex session

A pair of tourists were fined 250 euros (263 dollars) on Friday after being caught having sex on the Freedom...

Terror suspect arrested in Rotterdam in possession of Kalashnikov

A special Dutch police unit on Friday arrested a terror suspect in Rotterdam.

OSCE meeting fails to reach agreement amid "marked differences"

A meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Hamburg ended on Friday with...