Marches defend abortion, LGBT rights
Published Jan 23, 2006 8:13 PM
Women marched through the streets of Milan
tens of thousands strong on Jan. 14, in defense of an Italian law that legalizes
abortions within the first trimester of pregnancy. The same day, gay and lesbian
activists rallied in Rome to demand legal rights for same-sex and unmarried
Milan, Italy, Jan. 14.
From the reactionary summit of billionaire Premier
Silvio Berlusconi’s government to the towers of the Vatican, top officials
denounced both demonstrations in vile and divisive language.
issues have become hot potatoes for the country’s capitalist politicians
in the upcoming general elections.
The Catholic hierarchy is reportedly
the force pushing to totally outlaw abortion again. This is the first time the
bishops have openly worked to overturn abortion rights since Italian voters
upheld the law in a 1978 Vatican-backed referendum.
demonstration was organized by women determined to keep the law from being
removed from the books. They marched under the slogan: “Let’s emerge
The Vatican’s opposition to same-sex love was
underscored when the Pope spoke out against legal recognition and rights for
unmarried couples less than 48 hours before the Jan. 14
Thousands of gays and lesbians and their supporters filled the
Rome square to demand legal recognition of both same-sex couples and unmarried
heterosexual partners. “Let’s free love from religious
phobia,” read one banner.
At the same time, Giocanni Palom barini, a
senior Italian judge from the country’s highest bench—the Court of
Cassation—symbolically wed 10 unmarried same-sex and heterosexual couples.
Palombarini’s action defied Pope Benedict XVI and the Italian
government—including a direct order from Justice Minister Roberto Castelli
not to perform the ceremony.
The movement for state recognition of the
rights of unmarried couples, and the right to marry, has been inexorable
worldwide. Same-sex marriage is already a legal right in several countries in
Europe, including Spain—in which the Catholic Church has historically
wielded much political power.
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