Italy’s lower house of parliament has approved a bill allowing same-sex civil unions.
Gay couples will now be given the same legal protections as heterosexual married couples.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who staked his job on the successful passing of the law, labelled Wednesday (May 11) ‘a day of celebration.’
While also upbeat, rights groups say there is still work to be done.
“Today is an historic day, historic like the historic days we had on divorce, on abortion, on family rights,” said Aurelio Mancuso, President of Equality Italy. “Today Italy will see a real change – civil rights will take a huge step forward.”
Gabrielle Piazzoni, President of Arcigay, added:
“Today is obviously an important step forward, a historic step, but we know that there is still a long way to go for full equality – but this is an excellent starting point.”
The bill was watered down to gain the necessary support and a clause allowing homosexuals to adopt their partners’ children was scrapped.
Human Rights Watch said this amendment denies “some children the legal protection and security they deserve.”