Rome

Senate to examine civil unions bill on Wednesday (2)

Grants rights to same-sex couples

Senate to examine civil unions bill on Wednesday (2)

Rome, October 13 - The government's civil unions bill goes to the Senate floor on Wednesday, a meeting of caucus whips decided Tuesday. The bill would give same-sex couples many of the same rights and responsibilities as straight married couples, including the right for one spouse in a civil union to adopt the other spouse's children as well as the right to inherit a deceased spouse's pension and property. Stepchild adoption is a thorny issue for conservative and Catholic lawmakers who oppose gay parenting rights on religious grounds. Premier Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) said earlier in the day it will allow its lawmakers to vote their conscience on the bill, in particular regarding the issue of "stepchild adoption", said Senator Stefano Lepri, a member of the Catholic wing of the centre-left group. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who leads the New Center Right (NCD) party, a junior member of the ruling coalition along with has said he would wage a "loyal" battle against aspects of Renzi's bill. "Yes to the recognition of individual property and inheritance rights, no to adoptions," he said.

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