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Saturday, 18 January 2020

Italy gay rights activists rally for adoption rights

AFP , Saturday 5 Mar 2016
Italy
Supporters of same-sex civil union gather on January 23, 2016 in front of the Pantheon in central Rome. (Photo: AFP)
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Thousands of gay rights activists and LGBT families rallied in Rome Saturday in protest at the watering down of Italy's civil union's bill, which no longer envisages adoption rights for homosexual couples.

"We want equality" read banners held aloft under grey skies in the Eternal city.

Protesters sported the gay pride rainbow on their faces with one man naked apart from a cardboard fig leaf with the words "civil unions" on it.

Activists say the bill, which had to be cut back to the bare bones to pass in the senate and is now being examined in the lower house, is only a small step towards securing rights for homosexual families.

They are particularly angry over the scrapping of a clause which would have allowed gays to adopt their partners' biological children -- a proposal Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was forced to dump under Catholic pressure.

"Today in Italy, in 2016, we still have to beg for charity, for crumbs, in terms of rights. We want equal weddings, adoptions and full rights. Full rights," Alessia Avellino, a 21-year old sociology student, told AFP.

Veronica Croce, 40, who was at the demo with her partner and her partner's young son, said there was something "fundamental missing from the law: the possibility to adopt partners' children."

If the bill passes scrutiny in the lower house and becomes law -- expected within the next two months -- adoption will not be ruled out entirely, but couples will have to go to court where judges will decide on a case by case basis.

Protesters are hoping to force a change to the draft law before it is ratified -- or at least open a debate on rights that could eventually lead to an adoption bill.

"The law is unsatisfactory. It's a first step, (but) it doesn't give us those rights that are fundamentally ours," 23-year-old law student Edoardo Messineo said.

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