Several hundred thousand people demonstrated in Rome on Saturday at the invitation of Catholic associations against a planned law on registered partnerships for homosexuals. From next week, the Senate will vote on it.
Participants from all over Italy gathered Saturday for "Family Day" at the ancient Circus Maximus near the Colosseum. Their protest was directed against a bill by the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to allow gays and lesbians in Italy to enter into registered civil partnerships based on the German model. The demonstration was carried by family organizations and Christian groups. The organizers spoke of up to two million participants.
Speakers were particularly critical of the proposed adoption law, which would allow homosexuals to adopt their partner's biological children. Opponents of the bill fear it will harm the welfare of children and creep up surrogate motherhoods. On banners of the participants were slogans such as "Reversed remains reversed, even if it should become law" and "Do not destroy the family". The head of the organizing team, Massimo Gandolfini, stressed that the protest is not an attack on specific groups of people, but serves to defend the traditional family.
Majority of Italians against adoption rights
The controversy over the bill, which is currently being debated in the Italian Senate, cuts across party lines. Politicians from Renzi's Democratic Party also joined the protest. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano of coalition partner Nuovo Centrodestra ("New Center Right") expressed solidarity with the protesters on Twitter. Italian dioceses also supported the "Family Day" event. The Italian Bishops' Conference refrained from sending an official message of greeting. However, its president, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, tweeted, "Let us never forget the very identity of the family and its importance for the stability and economic development of the country."
Polls show a majority of Italians favor registered domestic partnerships for homosexuals, but oppose adoption rights.