Pin-up girls of the right and left team up to fight for equal marriage in Italy

Berlusconi loyalist Mara Carfagna and Maria Elena Boschi are teaming up to fight anti-gay forces in the Italian parliament that oppose civil partnerships

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Two young women from across Italy’s political divide are reportedly teaming up to fight the anti-gay forces in the Italian parliament that oppose civil partnerships.

One is the Berlusconi loyalist and former topless model Mara Carfagna; the other is the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s surprisingly tenacious Minister of Constitutional Reforms, Maria Elena Boschi.

Both have been dismissed as pin-up girls of the right and left. Both have proved far more effective operators than detractors have suggested.

Mr Renzi said on Monday that he wanted parliament to vote on civil union legislation based on the German model by the end of the summer.

But a bill proposed by Senator Monica Cirinna of Mr Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) has already been swamped by more than 4,000 mostly hostile amendments.

With many on all sides in Italy opposed to gay equality, Ms Carfagna and Ms Boschi are working together behind the scenes to get full civil partnerships through both houses of parliament, Corriere Della Sera reported.

 

Ms Carfagna is said to have the approval of the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, as she seeks to drag the conservative Forza Italia (FI) party into the 21st century. Mr Berlusconi himself recently spoke in favour of civil partnerships, largely thanks to the influence of his 29-year-old girlfriend, Francesca Pascale.

But Ms Carfagna’s right-wing FI colleague, senator Lucio Malan, has alone added 700 wrecking amendments, while Mr Berlusconi’s leader in the lower house, Renato Brunetta, claimed civil unions would always have lesser status than “natural families based on male-female relationships”.

And Ms Boschi can expect strong opposition to German-style civil partnerships from the many pious members of her own party. “There’s a very strong Catholic feeling among the PD, and not everyone liked the Senate proposals that allow for adoption,” according to Corriere Della Sera.

Meanwhile, the Vatican’s Osservatore Romano daily paper has admitted the Irish result constituted “a defeat”, highlighting a gap between the Church and modern society.

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