Battle begins in Italy parliament over gay civil unions

Italy’s Senate on Thursday begins examining a civil union bill for same-sex couples, a topic which has profoundly divided the country and could prove toxic for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government. While Italy is the last major Western country not to allow gay couples legal status, after years of thwarted efforts the so-called Cirinna bill, named after the senator behind it, will land in the upper house of parliament at 9:30 (0830 GMT). In 2007, a vast demonstration dubbed “Family Day” forced the centre-left government of Romano Prodi to drop a much less ambitious civil union project — and the rights campaign was cited as one of the reasons the cabinet fell in early 2008.

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