•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle


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 heterosexual couples.

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.

Both burning 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.

The Milan demonstration was organized by women determined to keep the law from being removed from the books. They marched under the slogan: “Let’s emerge from silence!”

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 protests.

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.