Mayor of Rome to hold ‘mass wedding day’ for all couples

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Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino is to perform mass civil unions – gay and straight – while the country debates same-sex unions.

The liberal mayor is to celebrate the unions at Rome’s city hall on May 21st, with both same-sex and opposite sex couples and their families attending. Rome permits same-sex couples to enter into local civil unions, despite an ongoing national ban on same-sex marriage in the country.

It is part of Rainbow Week in Rome, devoted to fighting homophobia in memory of a teenage boy who took his own life after facing homophobic bullying. It will also mark the first same-sex civil unions carried out in Italy’s capital city after legislation to allow them comes into force.

The Mayor has repeatedly clashed with the government for registering same-sex marriages that  were registered abroad. The Mayor of Milan said he faced criminal charges for doing the same thing.

The European Union is putting member states under pressure to adopt same-sex marriage and civil unions, and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has called on officials to push forward on civil unions across the country. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said last year he too supports civil unions.

Some regions of Italy allow civil unions, but many do not, and it is hoped the “mass wedding day” will give a strong message to encourage other regions to follow Rome’s lead.

Councillor Imma Battaglia told Corriere della Cerra: “It will be a celebration of love but will also be a big political push to fill the legislative gap on the issue, which makes the lives of homosexual people harder. Let’s stop discrimination: this is the message Rome wants to send.”

Same-sex marriage was rejected by Italy’s highest court this year.

(h/t The Local)