Italy is among EU countries out-of-touch with public opinion on gay rights, Euronews analysis of newly-published data reveals.
It is one of three states where a majority of citizens back same-sex marriage but whose states have a less-than-impressive ranking when it comes to legislation in this area.
The Czech Republic and Slovenia are the other countries where governments have not kept pace with the views of their citizens.
It came just a week ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17.
ILGA Europe, campaigners for gay rights, have released their latest rankings on how EU countries compare when it comes to treating people equally. On family rights, which includes same-sex marriage, they gave all three a rating of less than 50.
The rankings, first released on May 10, gave Italy a score of just four out of 100. But, after Italy approved same-sex civil unions on May 11, ILGA says it will revise up Rome’s score to 37.7 percent, but only when the new law comes into force.
A majority of citizens from Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, surveyed in 2015 by Eurobarometer, backed the concept of same-sex marriage.
Germany, Finland, Austria and Malta are the states where the majority of people questioned approve of full equal marriage rights for gay people but whose states do not yet grant them.
Finland has granted equal marriage rights to gay couples but the law will not come into force until 2017.
What do campaigners think?
A spokeswoman for ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) told Euronews: “Of course, in the countries where comprehensive legislation is not yet in place, we urge governments to introduce or increase protection for LGBTI people and rainbow families – they already exist and deserve to be legally recognised.
“The fact that a broad section of the general public would support the introduction of such laws is incredibly encouraging – social mobilisation around equality issues is what cements change and helps it to last in the long term.
“But political leaders should be committed to increasing fairness and equality all over Europe, because it is the right thing to do, not just because it is popular.
“Our Rainbow Europe Map and Index lay out the legal and policy situation in 49 countries but that doesn’t always translate into reality for LGBTI people across Europe. Political leadership on equality, awareness-raising campaigns and proper implementation of the laws are also needed to create the added social element of real change.”
What’s the position in each country?
Italy: ILGA Europe says most change in the country in 2015 came as a result of court rulings. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in the Oliari and Others vs Italy that Rome’s failure to legally recognise same-sex couples violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Czech Republic: Family issues, says ILGA Europe, namely whether or not to grant same-sex couples access to the adoption system, have been firmly on the agenda. Progress in this area has reportedly inspired a marriage equality campaign in Prague, it has been claimed.
Slovenia: A marriage equality law was rejected in a referendum in December last year, by 63 per cent to 37 per cent, reports ILGA Europe. The Slovenian government has since backed moves to expand civil partnership rights.
Germany: Other polls have backed Eurobarometer findings that the majority of Germans are in favour of equal marriage legislation. But Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out introducing same-sex marriage legislation last year.
Finland: Legislation to grant marriage equality passed its final legislative hurdle in February and is set to come into force in 2017.
Austria: Same-sex couples are allowed to adopt the children of their partners in Austria, but gay couples are not allowed to marry. In November last year a petition calling for marriage equality attracted 45,000 signatures, says ILGA Europe.
Malta: Maltese PM Joseph Muscat says he is favour of gay marriage and called for a debate on the matter. ILGA Europe has praised progress in Malta on other areas of gay rights.
Explore the data
Here is the data behind this story. Click a column header to re-order the table.
The second column, % who approve of same-sex marriage, is taken from a 2015 Eurobarometer survey, while the third column is data taken from a new report by ILGA Europe.