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LA STAMPA

Italian Couple Works Legal Loophole To Form Same-Sex Family

Socially conservative Italy isn't likely to embrace gay marriage anytime soon. That hasn't stopped one same-sex couple from trying. While Savona's Francesco and Manuel haven't yet managed to tie the knot, they did come

An Italian gay couple in the Colosseum in Rome
An Italian gay couple in the Colosseum in Rome
Ermanno Branca

SAVONA – It's not exactly a full-fledged marriage, but the official recognition by one Italian coastal town that two men constitute a "family unit" is being seen by some as an important step in the battle for legal recognition of same-sex couples in Italy.

Last year, Francesco Zanardi and Manuel Incorvaia tried to get the mayor of Savona, a seaport on Italy's northwestern coast, to marry them. That effort failed. But they did get the town's registry office to recognize them as a "family unit."

The town hall plays down the recognition, saying officials have merely applied a 1989 local decree that allows people living under the same roof to be given a family status, even when not married, provided they declare a mutual bond of affection.

It's a bit of bureaucratic miracle, but it was accomplished quite easily. All Zanardi and Incorvaia had to do was go to the town's registry office and fill out a form in which they stated their bond of affection and their desire to form a family. The couple was accompanied by some center-left local politicians who have backed their cause.

"It's a further step forward for the rights of gay couples," the two men declare.

Inspired by their new status, the couple has renewed their marriage request. The original petition was denied on grounds that Italy does not envisage same-sex marriages. It's likely their second request will suffer the same fate.

Italy, a Roman Catholic nation that hosts the Vatican, does not recognize same-sex marriages and current center-right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said his government has no plans to do so. An effort by the previous center-left government to introduce rights for de-facto couples, including gay ones, drew opposition and was never turned into law.

Italy does have detailed – and constantly evolving – statutes regulating cohabitation. National law allows people who share the same residency to constitute separate family units for fiscal reasons. But it also allows people to form a single family in cases involving a degree of kinship, adoption, guardianship or when the individuals involved state their bond of affection.

As Zanardi and Incorvaia demonstrated, this "affection clause" can operate as a legal loophole for same-sex couples seeking some type of legal acknowledgement. But it can also be a fragile bond. As easily as a family unit is formed, it can also be dissolved. All that's needed is another visit to the registry office to state the mutual affection is no longer there.

Photo - justinfeed

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Geopolitics

Women, Life, Freedom: Iranian Protesters Find Their Voice

In the aftermath of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police mid-September for not wearing her hijab properly, many Iranians have taken the streets in nationwide protests. Independent Egyptian media Mada Masr spoke to one of the protesters.

Students of Amirkabir University in Tehran protest against the Islamic Republic in September 2022.

Lina Attalah

On September 16, protests erupted across Iran when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in custody after being arrested and beaten by morality police for her supposedly unsuitable attire. The protests, witnesses recount, have touched on all aspects of rights in Iran, civil, political, personal, social and economic.

Mada Masr spoke to a protester who was in the prime of her youth during the 2009 Green Movement protests. Speaking on condition of anonymity due to possible security retaliation, she walked us through what she has seen over the past week in the heart of Tehran, and how she sees the legacy of resistance street politics in Iran across history.

MADA MASR: Describe to us what you are seeing these days on the streets of Tehran.

ANONYMOUS PROTESTER: People like me, we are emotional because we remember 2009. The location of the protests is the same: Keshavarz Boulevard in the middle of Tehran. The last time Tehranis took to these streets was in 2009, one of the last protests of the Green Movement. Since then, the center of Tehran hasn’t seen any mass protests, and most of these streets have changed, with new urban planning meant to make them more controllable.

Remembering 2009 triggers many things, such as street strategies, tactics and the way we could find each other in the middle of the chaos. But this is us now, almost at the back. Up front, there are many younger people, especially girls. They are extremely brave, fearless and smart.

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