Pope Francis Calls For Civil Union Laws For Same-Sex Couples

Pope Francis (image via public domain)

In a new documentary that premiered in Rome on Wednesday, Pope Francis signaled a break from the Catholic Church’s official teaching calling for civil union laws for same-sex couples.

And this from the Catholic News Agency:

“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” Pope Francis said in the film, of his approach to pastoral care.

After those remarks, and in comments likely to spark controversy among Catholics, Pope Francis weighed in directly on the issue of civil unions for same-sex couples. “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the pope said. “I stood up for that.”

Francis has expressed an interest in reaching out to the church’s LGBTQ followers in the past, but his comments have primarily been along the lines of general ‘welcoming’ and not substantive policies.

Romania Eyeing Civil Unions For Same-Sex Couples

In the aftermath of an epic fail by conservative groups in Romania to change the country’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage this past weekend, Reuters is reporting that Romania’s ruling party now hopes to introduce legislation legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples.

European Affairs Minister Victor Negrescu told the state news agency, “This draft bill is finalized and…my fellow lawmakers will submit it in parliament next week.”

The anti-gay referendum, supported by the Romanian Orthodox Church, only drew 21% of voters.

To approve a constitutional change, at least 30% of eligible voters must participate in order for it to be valid.

The Romanian Constitutional Court ruled last month that gay couples should have the same rights as all families.

In June 2018, the European Union’s high court ruled that member nations must grant residency rights to LGBT couples legally married in other EU countries after a Romanian national sued to bring his American husband to Romania.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 14 of the 28 EU member nations. Six European Union countries, including Romania, offer no legal recognition for same-sex relationships.

According to ILGA-Europe, Romania ranks near the bottom of European Union countries (#25) when it comes to LGBTQ issues like equality, family issues and hate speech to legal gender recognition, freedom of expression and asylum rights.

Italy Celebrates First Same-Sex Civil Union

It’s not exactly marriage, but it’s a step forward for Italy.

This past weekend the mayor of Rome officiated the country’s first-ever same-sex civil union between Francisco Raffaele Villarusso and Luca de Sario in front of of family and friends.

“We had already decided do it and we moved abroad, but when the bill was approved we packed up all our things and came back to Italy,” said Villarusso.

From NewNowNext:

Italy was the last country in the European Union to allow for same-sex civil unions, which happened last May after a bill was passed that would have forced Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to step down if the vote failed.

Despite the progress, however, there is still headway to be made.

In addition to the bill being criticized for containing a controversial adoption clause, reports are indicating that if the couple tries to combine their last names instead of just choosing one over the other, they may run into tax and identity problems that heterosexual couples don’t have to deal with.

Italy Approves Civil Unions

After a long, protracted battle between Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Catholic Church, the Italian government has finally approved civil unions for gays and lesbians by a vote of 369-193.

Italy was the last major Western country to not recognize same-sex couples.

Italian Senate Approves Civil Unions

The Italian Senate has just approved legislation which would legalize civil unions in Italy by a vote of 173-71.

The bill will head to the House of Deputies where the legislation is expected to pass easily.

Italy is the only major Western European country to not recognize same-sex couples.

The legislation is not perfect in that it comes stripped of adoption rights. And, of course, it’s not full marriage.

But sometimes, you have to move forward with whatever you can and live to fight another day.

Good going, Italy!

Greece’s Parliament Approves Civil Unions

By a vote of 194 to 55, the Greek Parliament approved legislation making civil unions legal in Greece.

JoeMyGod reminds us that out of the 28 European Union members:

• Same-sex marriage is legal in twelve of them: Belgium, Denmark, Finland (effective 2017), France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia (effective date pending), Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland.)

• Civil unions are legal in eight EU nations: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus (effective date pending), the Czech Republic, Estonia (effective 2016), Germany, Greece (effective date pending0, Hungary, and Malta.

• No partnership recognitions exist in seven EU nations: Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Non-EU members Norway and Iceland legalized same-sex marriage in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Non-EU member Switzerland legalized registered partnerships in 2007.

Greece & Italy Move Towards Legal Status For Same-Sex Couples

Two stories out today show positive steps for same-sex couples in Greece and Italy.

Almost 18 months after the European Court of Human Rights told Greece the same-sex couples needed some inclusion to legal protections, the Greek government looks intent on legalizing civil partnerships for all couples.

While encouraging, several months of work still lay ahead for the legislation. The bill is expected to go before the Greek Parliament later this summer.

Also, Italy’s Lower House passed a motion to approve civil unions by a vote of 204-83.

The language of the legislation (similar to the civil unions law in Germany) states that the government will commit “to promote the adoption of a law on civil unions, particularly with regard to the condition of the people of same sex”. It also says the government will “ensure equal treatment throughout the nation” of civil unions.”

Chile: President Bachelet Signs Civil Unions Bill Into Law

After receiving final approval in January, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed into law today a bill that legalizes civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

Bachelet — who publicly supports marriage rights for same-sex couples — signed the measure less than two weeks after the Chilean Constitutional Court upheld it. Her government earlier this year announced it would no longer oppose nuptials for gays and lesbians in a lawsuit before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that three same-sex couples filed in 2012.

Chile joins Colombia and Ecuador in legalizing civil unions in South America, while same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Brazil, French Guiana, and Uruguay.