Italy considers gay partnerships, as the rest of Europe leaves it behind


Dublin crowds celebrate the referendum result on Saturday | EPA | 15118

Ireland’s historic referendum which voted in favour of same sex marriage has been noted in Italy, which is now the only Western European country that does not recognize either same sex marriage or civil unions. The Irish referendum garnered an unexpectedly strong 62 per cent “Yes” vote, which has rallied backers of the Italian law, which has been languishing in parliament for months.

“What joy,” said Roberto Speranza, leader of Mr Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party of the result. “Now it is Italy’s turn.” “The moment has arrived, finally, to approve this before the summer’s end,” said Democratic Senator Andrea Marcucci.

“Ireland is giving us a lesson in civility,” said gay Italian politician Nichi Vendola, president of the Apulia region since 2005.

Laura Boldrini, speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, said Ireland was giving Italy a much-needed push forward. “It is time that Italy has a civil unions law,” Ms. Boldrini said on Twitter. “To be European means to recognize rights.”

Church mulls new money-making wheeze

The Church of England’s General Synod will consider a new baptism-style ceremony for trans people for their new names.

Don’t hold your breath, however. The Archbishops’ Council said the motion

“will join a queue of motions for debate and is therefore unlikely to be debated immediately”.

Your Activist suggests you should not book your reception just yet.

Trans people being let down by the NHS, says watchdog

People preparing for gender reassignment are being treated as second-class citizens by the NHS in England, with many taking at least six years to go through the process, according to the state-funded watchdog Healthwatch. The problems are in the length of time it takes to get an initial appointment and then the delays in receiving treatment.

The delays frequently lead to patients considering self-harm and suicide.

There are also problems in obtaining funding and sufficient therapy services.

“Clearly, this is a very major procedure and the uncertainty is being combined with delay. One can only imagine the sense of anticipation prior and through the process. The longer it goes on, the more frustrating it must be.”

comments Katherine Rake, the healthwatch chief executive.

Finally iced

Crumbs. A judge in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has ruled that Ashers Baking Company, a Christian-run bakery, was not exempt from discrimination law and discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. The company was taken to court by gay rights activist Gareth Lee.

The firm was found to have discriminated against Mr Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation as well as his political beliefs.

Damages of £500 were agreed in advance by legal teams on both sides of the dispute.

The case has been in the oven for some time.

Decisions, decisions

Robin English/Demotix/Corbis

This week the electorate of the Republic of Ireland will decide whether or not their constitution should be amended to permit same sex marriage. Until recently, polls had put the “Yes” vote well ahead of the “No” vote, but today one poll indicated that the result could be closer, putting Yes on 53%. In recent days religious organisations have been orchestrating a determined effort to swing it for “No”.

Turning Luxembourg Pink!

Congratulations to the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, who is to marry his partner Gauthier Destenay, becoming the first European Union leader – and only the second leader in the world – to marry someone of the same sex. They have been civil partners since 2010.

In case you have forgotten, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, the then prime minister of Iceland, was the first.

Gay Activist sends warm wishes.

Turning Westminster Pink

The general election has resulted in an increase in gay and lesbian community representatives in the House of Commons. There are now 12 Conservative, 13 Labour and six SNP MPs who are openly gay. Britain now has more openly gay parliamentarians than any other country. It is also an increase of 6 on the previous Parliament.

This dwarfs the 12 and ten in the parliaments of Sweden and the Netherlands respectively, both countries that pride themselves on their liberal attitude to gay rights,

splutters the Mail, well it would wouldn’t it, they have smaller populations.

On top of that, 155 of all the election candidates were gay, reported the Daily Mail, almost choking on its cornflakes this morning.

Well done everyone.

Gay groups concern over Cabinet appointments

David Cameron and his new MPs | ITV

Following the Conservatives “landslide” election win – they won the most seats but only one in four of the electorate voted for them – a number of Cabinet and Ministerial appointments have raised eyebrows in gay and other campaigning groups.

As well as some Ministers who favour the return of capital punishment – Michael Gove and Priti Patel – there are two – Nicky Morgan and Caroline Dinenage – who voted against gay marriage. Both ladies are now at Equalities.