An enormous crowd turned out Saturday at Rome's Circus Maximus for "Family Day," where a proposed civil unions bill was denounced and LGBT families were condemned.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is hoping to push through a civil unions bill and finally offer legal recognition to same-sex couples. Italy is the only Western European nation to offer no protections for such couples, and the nation is under pressure to take action by the European Court of Human Rights.
But the Catholic Church's hold over daily Italian ife remains strong and many Italians want the legislation killed. Opponents to the bill turned up Saturday by the thousands, bused in from all over the nation, according to the Los Angeles Times. Some of the protest signs went far beyond opposition to civil unions, with one placard reading, "Say no the Gaystapo."
As is common for battles over LGBT rights, "Think of the children" concerns were trotted out. Renzi's bill includes a very contentious clause that would allow gay and bi people to legally adopt their partner's biological children.
"Family Day" is not a good sign for the civil unions proposal — as Italian officials often consider protests and public sentiment before proceeding with legislative changes — though a pro-civil unions rally was held the previous week.