January 23, 2016

Activists contest Vatican over gay rights before key Italian vote

Print More
Protesters gather outside Rome's Pantheon to call on politicians to grant legal rights to same-sex couples, ahead of a landmark vote scheduled for Jan. 28, 2016. Religion News Service photo by Rosie Scammell

Protesters gather outside Rome's Pantheon to call on politicians to grant legal rights to same-sex couples, ahead of a landmark vote scheduled for Jan. 28, 2016. Religion News Service photo by Rosie Scammell

ROME (RNS) Campaigners across Italy have held rallies calling for same-sex couples to be granted legal recognition and family rights, but they are facing tough opposition in the home of the Catholic Church.

Thousands of people descended on 100 city squares across Italy on Saturday (Jan. 23), brandishing alarm clocks and demanding lawmakers “wake up” to their demands. Solidarity rallies were also held in European capitals such as London and Berlin.

The nationwide protests were held ahead of a vote expected Thursday on whether to grant same-sex couples legal rights.

“We are at a crisis point in an Italy which must talk about civil rights,” said Fabrizio Marrazzo, spokesman for Rome’s Gay Center, calling for the same mass mobilization which saw abortion and divorce legalized in the 1970s.

The historic bill supported by Italy’s prime minister,, is intended to legalize same-sex partnerships and allow gay people to adopt their partner’s children.

RELATED STORY: Pope talks about gays, annulments in new book

But the proposals face strong opposition from the Catholic Church, which has traditionally had considerable influence over political decision-making.

Outside the Pantheon in central Rome, Lucia Caponera, vice president of the ArciLesbica organization, said religion must not sway the vote.

“The church does its work, civil society and the political (sphere) should take care of doing something else,”  Caponera said. “The piazzas are a symbol of a wait that can last no longer.”

But Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops’ Conference has thrown his support behind the the “Family Day” movement, which will protest against the legislation on Jan. 30.

RELATED STORY: Who won? Who lost? 5 points on the contentious Vatican summit

Pope Francis has not directly commented on the prime minister’s bill, but his remarks on Friday about the family have been interpreted as the pope taking a stance.

“The church has — amongst other things — indicated to the world that there cannot be confusion between the family wanted by God and every other type of union,” Francis said, referring to discussions at the recent synod on the family.

Despite such comments, hours earlier the pope met with the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, who is openly gay, and Francis is generally viewed as having a more welcoming approach towards gay people than past pontiffs.

The pope has not, however, attempted to change church doctrine on the matter, which deems same-sex relationships “intrinsically disordered” and states gay people should be celibate.

(Rosie Scammell is the RNS Vatican correspondent)

  • ben in oakland

    Gay Italians are demonstrating for civil marriage. The law being considered in Italy is for civil unions only.

    ““The church has — amongst other things — indicated to the world that there cannot be confusion between the family wanted by God and every other type of union,” Francis said, referring to discussions at the recent synod on the family.

    There is the family allegedly wanted by god, and then there are the families that actually exist. The pope can believe whatever he likes. But since Italy has civil marriage for people who don’t want someone else’s religion in their lives, and for people who are neither catholic nor Christian, the pope’s beliefs should not have sway over this particular decision.

  • Pingback: Activists contest Vatican over gay rights before key Italian vote | Christian News Agency()

  • Pingback: Activists contest Vatican over gay rights before key Italian vote - mosaicversemosaicverse()

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Will Roman Catholic bosses commit criminal acts to try to get their way, like bishops in the US did? In the most notorious anti-gay Hate Vote of all, the 2008 California H8te Vote that actually took away the established right LGBT Californians had to legal marriage, we saw that anti-gays cheated to throw the vote. The federal judge who revoked the H8te Vote had in his possession an email written by Catholic bishops to Mormon leaders in which they both agreed to violate California campaign finance laws to throw the H8te Vote by making secret, illegal cash and in-kind contributions to the H8te Vote. The email serves as proof positive they knew they were breaking the law; the email itself is an act of criminal collusion. We know the Mormons made the Hate Videos shown on TV, but they refused to report these in-kind contributions as required by law.


  • CarrotCakeMan

    Here is documentation about that email:


    The email was included in the evidence the US Supreme Court reviewed before that Court affirmed the revocation of the 2008 California anti-gay H8te Vote. Clearly, the criminal acts committed by Mormons and other anti-gays failed. It is believed the four anti-gay justices are holding this document to prevent the State of California from using it to prosecute the miscreants.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Anti-gays want to interfere with the most private aspects of the lives of loving, committed same gender couples, but don’t want anyone interfering in their fun and games:

    “Divorce is higher among religiously conservative Protestants – and even drives up divorce rates for other people living around them, a new study finds.

    The study, slated to be published in the American Journal of Sociology, tackles the “puzzling paradox” of why divorce is more common in religiously conservative “red” states. If religious conservatives believe firmly in the value of marriage, why is divorce especially high in places like Alabama and Arkansas?


  • CarrotCakeMan

    “Researchers also discovered that people living in areas with lots of conservative Protestants were at higher risk of getting divorced, even if they weren’t conservative Protestants themselves. Community institutions in such areas might encourage early marriage, affecting divorce rates for everyone who lives there. “Pharmacies might not give out emergency contraception. Schools might only teach abstinence education.” On top of that, “if you live in a marriage market where everybody marries young, you postpone marriage at your own risk. The best catches … are going to go first.”


  • G Key

    I like Pope Francis a lot — more than any other pope I’ve ever read about. I disagree with him on only three issues.

    The first issue is gender equality, including who gets to marry whom & who gets to run the church.

    The second issue is birth control, including prevention & termination of pregnancies.

    The third issue is personal boundaries, including applicability & imposition of church doctrine on nonmembers.

    Come to think of it, that last one is really the only issue I have with Pope Francis’s positions.

    What the pope requires of Catholics is none of my business. “Who am I to judge?”

    But what he requires of non-Catholics is none of his business. Who is he to judge?

    I wish he & his church would heed his most famously humble quote.

    I hope Italy does, too.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    “Thousands”? No, the New York Times reports estimates of ONE MILLION Italians:


  • “The pope has not..attempted to change church doctrine..same-sex relationships [are] “intrinsically disordered”

    The Pope enshrines an inhumane and needless commitment to primitive, bigoted, untrue fables.

    “No man who has any defect..nor damaged testicles..shall desecrate my sanctuary. I am the LORD, who makes them holy.'” – GOD (Leviticus 21:18)

    Depraved, insolent, ignorant garbage such as this has no business
    in the modern world.

  • MaryLou Scherer

    That comes from a Pope who loves the gays….too much love can kill you, if you ask me

  • Pingback: Activists contest Vatican over gay rights before key Italian vote - IKTHUS.NETIKTHUS.NET()

  • Betty Clermont

    The pope doesn’t love gays and women enough to acknowledge their human rights nor children enough to protect them from sexual predators. He met “in strictest privacy” (lascala.it) with Apple’s Thomas Cooke for the same reason he met “in strictest privacy” (lascala.it) with Googles’ Eric Schmidt. After he indicted two authors of books exposing Vatican financial corruption during his pontificate, at least 13 freedon-of-the-press organizations protested. Since then his usual fawning coverage by the mainstream media has faltered, so he’s turning to digital media.

  • William Bockstael

    The RCC throws its support behind the the “Family Day” movement…

    A religious institution that bans its clergy from getting married and creating a family

    LMAO !!

  • CarrotCakeMan

    What’s your problem, Ms. Scherer, is the Pope “insufficiently homophobic”? Relax, Ms. Clermont is correct.

  • MaryLou Scherer

    Some people have the ability to understand sarcasm…some simply don´t

    I´ll leave it at that

  • Ben in oakland

    Actually, CCM, Ms. scherer was agreeing with you, along this line. As I always say, when someone who doesn’t know me or a thing about me announces proudly how much they love me– just like God!– I generally like to reach around with both hands just to make sure my butt is still there.

  • Paolo Azzaroli

    @ CarrotCakeMan: 1 Million is Pure propaganda. The NYT tells that ” Tens of thousands of people demonstrated”, an that the LGBT league Arcigay claims for “1 million people participated”. Among the two figures, the first one seems the nearest to the true.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    I’m sure anti-gays would prefer to believe these many Italians didn’t show up at all.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    I stand corrected.

  • Garson Abuita

    The US Supreme Court didn’t “affirm” the revocation of Proposition 8, it dismissed the appeal for lack of standing by the petitioners (the opponents of same-sex marriage). The article you linked to indicated that the email was presented in open court. The LA Times quoted from it. I don’t know what Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito might be doing with it but they’re not preventing it from being seen by the public.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Then why did California restore marriage equality after that dismissal? I would say “Obergefel” made that clear.

    California State Attorney General Kamala Harris is still waiting for that email so she can file charges. You don’t think the 5 loyal justices are holding it, do you?

  • Billysees

    I think faith or Christianity is important if it acts like these descriptions —

    1. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love…….Galatians 5:6

    2. Christianity without good, quality works and deeds with all kinds of loving attitudes included won’t amount to a hill of beans…..James 2:26

    But the Christian religion doesn’t always practice them, as the article points out, and then all kinds of unfortunate stuff takes place, so….

    Thank God for the ‘secular’ which, in most cases, is capable of keeping an eye on all kinds of religious activity in order to make sure it stays civil and keeps any of its loveless attitudes to themselves. It’s an effort that will never end. No wonder so many hate just about any kind of religious activity. That hatred is justified.

  • stevekay

    the world is changing, religion is all but dead in europe. One obstacle is the biggest to freedom from MYTH-eology

    equal marriage fro gay people

    anyday now civil inions, a good staart. gthe more hte bishops have a fit, themore htey willl ultimately be out of a job

  • stevekay

    here is the kind of “protection of the children celibacy created.

    Make no mistake about it – the church will surely lose its battle of the bulge as did the nazis

    btw http://nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

  • stevekay

    btwhere in theusa places like NC, tx etc are trying to ban condoms. They obvviously want more abortions etc to scream about

    Be sure to teachyour children how to make a condom out of saran wrap and an elastic