Thursday 27 July 2017

Marriage Referendum: The view from abroad

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ireland's historic vote in favour of same-sex marriage reverberated across Italy yesterday, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's lieutenants called for a civil partnership law to be fast-tracked through parliament.

Italy is now the only Western European country that does not recognise either same-sex marriage or civil unions. The fact that the Irish referendum garnered 62pc Yes vote in what is perceived to be a deeply Catholic country has rallied supporters of the Italian law, which has been languishing in parliament for months.

Several editorials in the Italian papers yesterday suggested that a referendum in Italy would have a similar outcome, recalling the divorce referendum in 1974, when 60 per cent of Italian voters went against the wishes of the Catholic Church on the issue.

La Repubblica reported that Mr Renzi confided privately that in the wake of the Ireland vote the question of civil unions in Italy can no longer be put off.

Many of his key government members and party allies spoke in favour of expediting the proposed legislation.

"What joy," said Roberto Speranza, leader of Mr Renzi's centre-Left Democratic Party, of the result. "Ireland is giving us a lesson in civility," said the gay Italian politician Nichi Vendola, president of the Apulia region since 2005.

The Yes vote has also put pressure on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has been criticised for refusing to hold a similar referendum there. Opposition leader Bill Shorten has accused Mr Abbott of stopping Australia from modernising itself.

"If the Irish people can vote in favour of marriage equality, the question has to be asked, what is Tony Abbott's problem with it?

"Most places in the world are dealing with marriage equality, why is Tony Abbott stopping Australia becoming a modern nation?" he said.

Irish Independent

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