Rome has hosted its first ever same-sex civil union. The ceremony, which was officiated by newly-elected Mayor Virginia Raggi, comes just under three months after a law came into force formally accepting such unions.
Roman Catholic Italy was the last European Union member to legally recognise same-sex unions, as such Luca de Sario, 30, and Francisco Raffaele Villarusso, 43, had considered tying the knot in Spain, as they explained.
“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.
While recognised as a step forward, the Civil Union bill has also come under fire for a controversial adoption clause.
Reports have also emerged in the Italian press of difficulties if the couple decides to combine their surnames, rather than choosing one family name. This is said to cause tax and identity problems that don’t exist for heterosexual couples.
Double-barrelling a name after a civil union is considered a ‘name-change’, meaning the couple’s tax code is changed. Further still, under Italian law, a ‘name-change’ is considered an ‘identity change’ meaning all identity documents and insurance will have to be changed and new social security cards applied for, La Repubblica reports.
In Italy, legal name changes are usually only allowed if a person is under police protection or caused extreme ‘shame of humiliation’ by their existing name, according to The Local, Italy.