Hundreds of thousands converged on Rome's San Giovanni Square on Saturday to protest the plan by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to legalize civil unions in the Catholic nation.
The old adage of "save the children" was uttered often, according to Agence France Presse. Many in the crowd interpreted the civil union legislation as threatening to minors.
"In my children's schools they are talking about families made up of two fathers or two mothers, without asking parents' permission," doctor Giuseppe Ripa told AFP. "It's dangerous and wrong."
Even with the huge crowds in attendance and the powerful influence of the Vatican on Italian life, Ripa's sentiments are starting to sink into the minority; a recent poll found 51 percent of Italians support marriage equality. PM Renzi though is taking it one step at a time, and hopes to pass the civil unions bill next month.
Italian courts have already shown some deference to same-sex couples, recognizing the marriage of two Italian men who wed in the U.S., as well as that of a trans woman and her cisgender female spouse.