Italians gather in Rome to support gay marriage bill

Anthony Cuesta | March 12, 2007

ROME — Thousands rallied in Rome Saturday to support legislation that would grant domestic partner rights to gays.

According to the Associated Press, the proposal would grant hospital visitation, inheritance and other legal rights to unmarried couples who live together both in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Some rights, such as hospital visiting, would be granted immediately, while couples would have to live together for several years to be eligible for inheritance and other rights.

Reuters reports that demonstrators filled a Roman piazza to support the bill. Some protesters wore bishops' mitres with slogans against the Vatican, which sees the bill as an attack on the idea that families are based on marriage between men and women. The rally included leftists from Prime Minister Romano Prodi's coalition, which is divided on the issue. Some coalition Catholics call homosexuals "deviant" and promise to shoot down the bill, which is being studied by a parliamentary committee.

Last month, Italy�s Cabinet approved the proposal, which faces a potentially tough battle in Parliament, and has heightened tensions within Italy's often bickering center-left government, reports the AP.

Pope Benedict XVI has mounted a strong campaign against legal recognition of unmarried couples.

The AP reports that opponents of the measure said they will hold a "family day" rally soon against the proposal. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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