[JURIST] Italian Justice Minister Clemente Mastella [official website, in Italian] has said that he will refuse to vote for a proposed law [JURIST report] that would give same-sex couples [JURIST news archive] many of the rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. In comments over the weekend, Mastella called the proposal immoral and said that Prime Minister Romano Prodi's current governing coalition must not be made "hostages" of the radical left.
Last week, Cardinal Camillo Ruini [Wikipedia profile], head of the Catholic bishops in Italy, denounced the proposed legislation [JURIST report] while speaking to a conference of Italian bishops, alleging that same-sex unions went against the basic purpose of marriage - to produce children. The proposed legislation would give same-sex couples combined medical insurance, the right to visit their partner in prisons or hospitals, inheritance rights, and decision-making authority should one partner become sick. Reuters has more.