“We’ve been waiting for 30 years to have such a law,” said Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender politician and activist who still goes by her birth name but identifies as a woman.
Luxuria, who was the first openly transgender member of Parliament in Europe, campaigned on the issue during her term in office. She says she struggled to make progress in the face of opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, which is dominant in Italy.
“I tried so hard. I felt like a very weak person, because I understood that the Vatican was very influential in trying to prevent any law about civil unions and civil rights,” she said.
Officially, the Catholic Church has opposed the bill, and several prominent figures have spoken out against the news. Archbishop Bruno Forte, who served as special secretary of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, called the decision “an impoverishment of democratic life on a question that can have an enormous impact on the future of society.”
Speaking to La Repubblica, Archbishop Michele Pennisi described the new law as “creeping fascism.”
The version of the bill that was passed has been seen by some as a compromise. Earlier drafts included provisions on same-sex parental adoption, which were later removed. And, even after this bill is enacted, gay couples will still not be able to get married in Italy.