On January 23rd, almost 100 Italian cities demonstrated in favor of same-sex civil unions, in order to wake up the Italian government from a forced slumber lasted 30 years
Aristotle once said that “the only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.” Italy cannot be considered a stable state, since there is no equality within it. Indeed, Italy is the only European country that doesn’t provide any legal recognition to same-sex couples. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people don’t enjoy the same rights that the straight population does. For instance, homosexual couples cannot have mutual assistance in case of illness and there is no possibility for a partner to take decisions for the other partner in case of hospitalization. Furthermore, the survivor’s pension and the inheritance of the partner’s goods are not contemplated by the Italian law. However, same-sex couples keep paying taxes like anybody else. As a consequence, tired of such unbearable discrimination, on January 23rd the Italian LGBT community organized an important rally, which took place in 89 Italian cities.
“ArciGay”, “ArciLesbica”, “Famiglie Arcobaleno”, and “Mit” were the associations that organized the demonstration called “Svegliati Italia” (Wake up Italy). From north to south, one million people took to the streets to support the cause in favor of the so-called “DDL Cirinnà“, which represents the first attempt to regulate same-sex unions. Monica Cirinnà, from the Democratic Party, is the parliamentarian who gave the name to this law. What is the “DDL Cirinnà” about? The bill is about civil unions and stepchild adoption, which are allowed to straight couples only. Even if the “DDL Cirinnà” is not about same-sex marriage, at least it guarantees same-sex couples a first legal recognition. Indeed, if the law will be approved, Italian municipalities will establish the register of civil unions for homosexual couples. Furthermore, marriages incurred abroad and marriages in which one spouse has changed sex will be recognized as civil unions. Finally, the non-biological partner will be able to adopt the spouse’s child with the approval of the biological parent. In other words, Cirinnà’s bill represents, unfortunately, the ‘minimum wage’ for Italy to be considered a civil, inclusive, and stable country. The legal protections this law wants to extend to the LGBT community have been overcome in the other European states, already. Nevertheless, the “DDL Cirinnà” embodies the first, necessary step to wake up the Italian parliament from 30 years of inaction.
Cirinnà: "when a country becomes more inclusive, nobody loses"
I participated to the demonstration that took place in Rome, in Piazza della Rotonda. The symbol of the rally was a heart with the equal sign inside of an alarm clock. The heart claims that any kind of love must have the same rights. The alarm, instead, represents the attempt from the Italian LGBT community to tell politicians that time has really expired: a law regulating civil unions can no longer be delayed. To stress this concept, the associations organized a flash mob. At 3pm, all the alarm clocks rang to connect Italian cities to one another and to tell the parliament that the time of recognizing same-sex couples has come.
In conclusion, the rally was an important way to give strength to the principle of equality, to make sure there is no discrimination, and to raise public awareness. Indeed, Gabriele Piazzoni, the secretary of ArciGay, said that January 23rd represented a historic day for Italy due to the massive mobilization. So, has Italy woken up? The Italian parliament still hasn’t, but Italian citizens have. The rally proved that.