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Vatican paper
blasts Italian proposal on rights for unmarried couples

Vatican paper
blasts Italian proposal on rights for unmarried couples

Italy's Left is seeking to ''eradicate'' the traditional family with its plan for a law that would give unmarried couples, including gays, some of the same rights as married couples, the Vatican's newspaper said Saturday. This week a majority in the Italian senate called unanimously on the government to come up with legislation for all unmarried couples by the end of January. Equal opportunities minister Barbara Pollastrini said Friday the government would do so. The headline of an editorial advertised on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano read: ''Christmas 2006: Eradicating the Family Is the Priority of Italian Politics.'' ''Fifteen days till Christmas. And there are some who are making other calculations, who are thinking of other deadlines,'' the editorial said. ''We're talking about the first month of next year as the deadline for a senseless battle.'' Lawmaker Franco Grillini, who is honorary president of the activist group Arcigay, criticized the newspaper for making ''apocalyptic'' statements on the fate of heterosexual families in Italy. ''Once again we would like to reason with the ecclesiastic hierarchy: Rights for unmarried couples do not negate the rights of traditional families,'' Grillini said in a statement. Among other things, the proposed legislation would give unmarried couples inheritance rights, joint medical insurance, visitation rights in prisons and hospitals, the right to carry on one another's leases, and the right to make decisions in case one partner becomes ill. Premier Romano Prodi, who was elected in April, said during his election campaign that he planned legal recognition for unmarried couples. But the issue is divisive in Italy, which is home to the Vatican and is still influenced by Roman Catholic Church positions. About 90% of Italy's 58 million citizens are at least nominally Catholic. It is also a sensitive issue for Prodi's leftist coalition, which ranges from Christian Democrats to anti-Vatican radicals and has struggled to find a common position on the matter. Members of the opposition have promised to fight the proposed measure. (Maria Sanminiatelli, AP)

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