Yesterday’s date marks a revolutionary day in Italian history. Equal rights take a step in the right direction with the passing of a new law on civil unions for LGBT people. So what exactly changed?
Civil unions ensure the basic rights that straight married couples have. This means the right to your partner’s pension, aliments in case of divorce and hereditary privileges are now granted to same sex couples. Divorce is actually easier and quicker than in regular weddings, cutting times and expenses for those who no longer wish to stay together.
While to be considered a couple you have to share a residence and have moral and material duties towards your partner, there is no mandatory fidelity in civil unions. In case of premature death of half of the couple, the living has the right to keep living in the previously shared house for 2 to 5 years (depending on how long the relationship has lasted and if there are minors in the picture).
Of course not everything has been fully addressed and some points remain a bit dubious. The first thing worth mentioning is a part of the law that did not pass – the “stepchild adoption”. Kids that are biologically of one of the partners won’t be able to be adopted by the other one, or at least this is what the law states. The unclear – but positive – factor is that at the end of the day judges will be able to address every case on an individual basis, so the real decisions will be up to them.
What also remains missing is a title for those who will engage in civil unions. They are not married, so what are they? While Shakespeare might be right when saying that names are not truly necessaries in determining the true nature of something, a lot of people are of the idea that having an actual title would help granting this new unions some validity among the masses.
As with any big changes, people’s responses have been the most diverse. While there is probably a significant portion of the population who simply does not care either way, there is plenty of people whose opinions are hard to be missed.
Celebrations have been held. The colosseum has been lighted with rainbow coloured lights and tweets have been shared by famous supporters. The LGBT community has celebrated this important victory together with their supporters in the classic joyous pride style.
It remains impossible to ignore the haters – on social networks and in interviews, you are bound to find the comments of those who claim this new law to be morally wrong and against the principles Italy is founded upon. From the iconic “my relatives didn’t fight a war for this” to the disconcerting “if we give those people these rights, what is going to happen next? Anarchy? Dictatorship?”, it is impossible to escape the most radical views. Still this won’t spoil the hopeful atmosphere that we are enjoying today – you cannot get the rainbow without some rain!
“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love. It matters only that you love.” – John Lennon