Italy protest against same-sex unions gathers thousands

  • 30 January 2016
  • From the section Europe
A woman attends a rally against same-sex unions holds a sign reading "it is wrong even if it becomes law" Image copyright Reuters
Image caption This woman's sign reads "It is wrong even if it becomes law"

Thousands of people have rallied in the Italian capital Rome against a bill giving gay couples legal recognition and adoption rights.

Protesters came from across Italy to attend "Family Day", which featured conga-dancing Catholic priests.

Parliament began considering the legislation earlier this week and is due to vote on it in February.

Italy is the last major Western nation not to give legal recognition to same-sex couples.

Many of those attending the rally at Rome's Circus Maximus, a former chariot-racing venue, held up banners saying "It is wrong even if it becomes law".

"These unions are very easy to form but also easy to collapse," said one protester. "Instead, we think that the family has great value and this law can destroy it."

A clause in the bill that allows gay people to adopt the biological children of their partner is proving particularly contested.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Catholic Church had a prominent presence, including these conga-dancing priests
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protesters particularly object to a clause giving adoption rights to gay couples

"The traditional family is based exclusively on a man and a woman. We don't want to deprive children of the right to have a father and a mother," said another of those there.

Organisers said two million had attended, far more than the venue's capacity, and journalists at the scene estimated the figure at around 300,000.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi faces opposition within his coalition government in his bid to pass the bill, with his environment minister attending and his interior minister tweeting support for the rally.

Last week rallies were held in major cities across Italy demanding legal recognition for same-sex couples

Italy has faced repeated complaints from European Court of Human Rights over its stance on gay marriage.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The bill is being voted on next month
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Tens of thousands attended, although organisers had hoped to attract one million

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