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Friday, 11 March 2016

Redefining Marriage in Italy Is Not so Easy

Rome Family Day protest, 30 January 2016

Published on Catholic World Report

By Enza Ferreri


Recently Catholic World Report published an article by Italian journalist Alessandra Nucci on how “Italy is the last remaining nation in Western Europe to hold out against the recognition of civil partnerships” and how the Church hierarchy, in particular the Italian Bishops’ Conference, has not always been as straightforward as desired on this theme.

It was followed a few days later by a piece on the website of the Culture of Life Foundation entitled Italy Debates The Definition Of “Family”…A Half-Century Too Late, by Steve Soukup.

First the facts. Is Italy the last stronghold of the Catholic family in Western Europe? We’ll have to wait until the result of the vote on new prospective legislation currently under discussion, but there are signs that in Italy the LGBT and similar lobbies are having a more difficult time than elsewhere.

There are two major innovative elements in the Cirinnà proposed law (named after the senator Monica Cirinnà who drafted it) that is now going through the Italian Parliament. One is granting official status to both heterosexual and homosexual civil partnerships, making them legally equal to marriages. The other is giving the civil partners in all these unions the right to adopt each other’s offspring, thus opening the door to same-sex couples’ adoption rights.

While the various parties in Parliament are negotiating and fighting over innumerable amendments and counter-amendments to the bill, the latest opinion polls have found that a small majority of Italians (between 50% and 60%, depending on the poll) favor the former but a strong majority (3 out of 4) oppose the latter.

Breakdown by political affiliation shows that the majority of Right-wing respondents oppose official status for civil partnerships as well, although individual Catholic members of Parliament across a broad spectrum of parties from the Right to the Left are also totally against this bill.

It’s interesting to see how in Italy, like in the United States, a public opinion that showed initial resistance to legal recognition of civil unions (or, in the case of the US, to same-sex marriage) has gradually changed over recent years, considering that in 2000 only 42% of Italians accepted it. The effect of mainstream media’s propaganda and the general feeling of fighting a lost battle (being “on the wrong side of history”) combine with changing demographics, as the 78% of supporters among the under-35s clearly indicates.

Italy is still the only country in Western Europe that does not have a law on civil partnerships.

Does this mean that Italy is lagging behind, and that countries like the UK and France are more advanced? This is what I used to think. If I was asked such a question years ago, my answer would have been “yes”.

But now I have different views and I wonder: advanced towards what? Our concept of "progress" entirely depends on the final destination we choose.

I now believe that the nations which introduced laws to give equal status to non-married couples and legalised same-sex marriage have advanced on the road to perdition, the road leading to Hell. Not to mention human unhappiness in this world as well.

Steve Soukup’s argument in the article mentioned above is that, since Italians are condemned (far from uniquely in the Western world) to demographic extinction, it’s pointless for them to worry about granting official status to civil partnerships, same-sex and non, stepchild adoption and similar matters.

This argument has a very strange logic. For it’s exactly by reaffirming the value of the true marriage and family, and therefore by opposing those who wish to equate marriage with other forms of union while at the same time by explaining the need for Christian ethics and natural law, that we can hope for society’s recovery, including demographically.

Furthermore, to say (or imply) that Italy is lagging behind (by expressions like “a half-century too late”), despite its having one of the lowest birth rates, a sure indicator of a “developed” society, just because the country doesn’t easily accept to be dominated and subjected to homophile and sexual relativist ideas, is tantamount to neglecting an objective sociological indicator and paying attention only to a subjective ideological preference of the commentator.

What is very lively in Italy, although largely ignored or vilified by the media, is the large grassroots movement of opinion against the Cirinnà bill and what it represents.

An example of the tactics used by the media to attack this movement is the coverage of the Standing Sentinels. All over Italy, in hundreds of towns and cities, silent protests are being held by the Sentinelle in Piedi to protect the natural family founded on the union between man and woman.

They stand in a square or other public place they have been authorized to use, usually reading.

These peaceful people generally attract the attention of various Left-wing, anarchist, LGBT and other groups, who stage unauthorized counter-demonstrations around them, harassing them with shouts, insults, spits, pushes and all sorts of violence, verbal and physical, to which the Standing Sentinels don’t respond.

The media reports, not unlike those talking about “sectarian violence” between Christians and Muslims in Islamic countries where the former are persecuted, tortured and slaughtered by the latter, describe “conflicts between opposing groups”, one of which, for good measure, is defined as “ultra-Catholic” (whatever that means).

The Family Day is another spontaneous movement of laity that has organised protests. On January 30th a huge pro-family demonstration, dubbed “Family Day”, was held in the Circus Maximus, one of the largest open spaces in Rome, estimated to have been attended by over a million people and said to have been the biggest demo of all time, in a country long used to big demos.

I conclude with what the Family Day spokesman Massimo Gandolfini, a neurosurgeon and psychiatrist, declared:
On these issues I have specialist knowledge. The entire world literature, from Freud to today's studies, says that the harmonious growth of the individual requires the essential presence of the so-called "parental triad" (child, mom and dad). There is no dissenting voice, except some theories from the ‘80s supported by the gay lobby, like the studies of the homosexual researcher Patterson, who recounted the development of some children of same-sex couples through their self-reports. In reality they are not really scientific investigations but opinion surveys carried out by her. There is no scientifically valid study favorable to the adoption of children by gay couples.
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