LGBTQ World News

Italy’s Senate approves Civil Unions, but not Same-sex Marriage

On Thursday, Feb. 25 Italy’s Senate recognized civil unions. The bill was passed despite strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and Renzi’s opponents with a 173-71 vote. The bill had been stalled in legislation for years until the European Court of Human Rights condemned Italy last year for its discrimination against members of the gay community. The court found that Italy had failed to provide members of the gay community with the most basic rights that are owed to couples in strong relationships. These rights included, but were not limited to, inheritance rights and recommended civil union recognition. But gay and lesbian groups were not happy, saying that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had to sacrifice a part of the compromise that would have allowed gay adoption in order to ensure that the bill would pass and that civil unions would be recognized. The bill was “watered-down” so that it would gain more supporters. The original bill would have granted non-biological parents in same-sex unions some parental rights. This part of the bill was known as the “stepchild” provision. Many members of the LGBTQ Community see this historical victory as more of a hollow one because of this.

This bill will allow same-sex couples to enter civil unions that will provide legal rights that are similar to the rights granted to married couples.

“Tonight many Italian citizens will feel less alone, more community. Hope has defeated fear. Courage has won over discrimination. Love has won,” said Prime Minister Renzi in a Facebook post shortly after the bill’s passing.

Charlotte, South Carolina, City Council Passed an LGBT-Inclusive Ordinance

Thanks to a decision on Monday Feb. 22, Charlotte, South Carolina might add sexual orientation and gender identity to its antidiscrimination ordinance.

Sadly, the state legislature does have the power to overrule the city council’s decision. Local news provider The Charlotte Observer reported that the most controversial part of the ordinance may lead to its rejection. The ordinance’s opposition, a large portion of South Carolina’s House Republicans, is willing to let the ordinance pass only if a portion of the ordinance is eliminated. The portion that the opposition wants eliminated is the part of the bill that would allow transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity instead of the bathroom based on the gender they were assigned at birth.

“Restrooms and locker rooms should remain distinctly private,” said House majority leader, Republican Mike Hager, in a news release. Hager said that the General Assembly would only act to remove the bathroom provision of the ordinance.

Governor Pat McCrory sent an email out to the Republican City Council members of Feb. 21, singling out the bathroom provision as the biggest problem when it comes to the ordinance.

When the ordinance goes into effect, vendors would have to cater to LGBT events, business owners would not be allowed to turn away members of the LGBT community, and bakers could no longer refuse to bake for gay weddings. This would be in effect no matter what the vendor’s, businessman’s, or baker’s religious beliefs are. If the business were to violate the ordinance, they could seek an injunction that would force it to follow it.

Supporters are determined to pass the ordinance with the bathroom provision in place. Last year council members John Autry and LaWana Mayfield voted against a version of the ordinance that did not include the bathroom provision. They refused to leave members of the LGBT community behind.

The House could pass it to a city wide vote, much like Houston did last year which led to the defeat of their entire ordinance, with 61 percent of the population voting no.

If the bathroom provision is removed, transgender people would still have protection from discrimination.