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A committee of Italy's lower house of parliament will start to look at civil union legislation in November, according to the AGI news service. The lawmakers will consider various proposals and combine them into a single bill.
Prime Minister Romano Prodi pledged to pass a civil union bill as part of this year's election campaign, despite inevitable rage from the Vatican. The bill is said to be similar to the United Kingdom's civil partnership law, although it will also include opposite-sex couples who are not married. Partners would have to prove they have been together for a set amount of time. Proposed are property and inheritance rights for partners as well. It remains unclear how the bill will progress through the government, but it is most likely that the center-right coalition and the Vatican will try to intercept it. Although Prodi supports civil unions for same-sex couples, he opposes same-sex marriage. (Hassan Mirza, Gay.com/U.K.)