Italy Celebrates First Civil Union

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Last May, Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, promulgated the Civil Union bill and it was published as law in the country’s Official Gazette the following day.

The first civil union was celebrated by two men in Lugo on Sunday despite the government not issuing the pending administrative orders yet.

Since the bill’s approval, opponents of the legislation have threatened a referendum to repeal it. While adoption rights remain controversial with many Italians and within the Italian Senate, as witnessed by the removal of a stepchild adoption clause during parliamentary debates, civil unions themselves are widely accepted by the public according to annual polls.

The Senate’s removal of the clause granting some adoption rights was replaced with one stating that the Italian Government would respect court orders on the subject of parental rights.

This will function as a first step, as throughout the years, many verdicts regarding same-sex adoption have been successful in different courts around the country.

verdict delivered last week from Italy’s Court of Cassation allowed a woman in a same-sex relationship to adopt her partner’s child. The court’s decision did not legalize stepchild adoption, but will instead allow lower court judges to borrow from the court’s ruling on a case by case basis.

This halfway step from the judiciary was cheered by activists, but also served as a reminder that a law to automatically grant the right to stepchild adoption must still be passed through the Legislature in the future.

A separate bill to allow stepchild adoption was proposed in Parliament earlier this year, but may prove difficult to pass as seen by this spring’s events.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Italy, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Italy

Norway Simplifies Their Legal Gender Change Laws

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Norway recently modified their laws to allow a person to change their legal gender without the need of surgical, hormonal, and psychiatric intervention.

In the past, Norwegians seeking the change had to undergo hormone treatments, be sterilized, and pass a series of sessions with a psychiatrist before they could receive documentation with their new gender listed. The length of the entire process could last several years before a person’s new gender was officially recognized.

The Norwegian Health Ministry’s recent proposal was hailed as a breakthrough as it only requires self-declaration and a document that is filled in by the applicant then sent to the nearest Tax Office which registers civil statuses.

Parliament approved the bill on June 7th on a vote of 79-13. It was promulgated on June 17th and will take effect on July 1st.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Norway, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Norway