A member of Italy’s government is on hunger strike to push for civil unions

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A member of the Italian Government has gone on hunger strike in order to push for a date for civil unions to be voted on.

Ivan Scalfarotto announced his hunger strike on Monday, reports Repubblica.

The undersecretary for Parliamentary relations took the drastic measure as thousands of amendments were submitted to a bill for civil unions in order to sabotage it, meaning it will take much longer than anticipated to be read.

Scalfarotto said: “From Monday I will only have two cappuccinos a day.. The fact is that I could no longer turn a blind eye, to go on with my work as usual.”

The Lower House in Italy last month for the first time approved a motion which commits the government to promote the adoption of a law for gay civil unions.

It is the first time such a motion has been approved by MPs in Italy, as other motions have been rejected.

The motion, from the Democratic Party, which passed its first reading, commits the government “to promote the adoption of a law on civil unions, particularly with regard to the condition of the people of same sex”.

The government must also “ensure equal treatment throughout the nation”.

Italy has faced long-time calls from within to formalise legal recognition for same-sex cohabiting couples including from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Justice Minister Andrea Orlando.

Mr Renzi privately said: “Civil unions cannot be delayed any longer.”