Rome Recognizes Its First Gay Civil Union

Luca de Sario and Francisco Raffaele Villarusso have become the first same-sex couple in a civil union in Italy. Italy, the last country in the EU to legalize such unions, passed the bill legalizing civil unions just three months ago, after being criticized for denying gay couples legal rights.

De Sario and Villarusso had even decided to move to Spain, where they could legally marry. However, once they heard the bill had passed, they moved back to Italy to tie the knot.

Although the bill is a definite sign of progress that has been celebrated, it didn’t pass without obstacles. It had originally included a controversial adoption clause, which was eventually removed before the bill was passed.

Another complication is the nature of the “name-change” —previously, legal name changes were only permitted if the person faced “extreme shame of humiliation” with their existing name. Now, it is treated as a complete identity change, meaning that couples who decide to combine their surnames will face a slew of problems. Their tax code, insurance, and other identity documents will need to be changed, and social security cards re-applied for.

The new bill is a step forward in offering same-sex couples the rights of marriage, but still has a ways to go in offering the legal protections available to heterosexual couples.

Check out photos of the happy couple at Euronews.

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