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Italy Senate begins hearing civil union proposals

[JURIST] Lawmakers in the Italian Senate [official website] have started weighing proposals for legislation that would legalize civil unions in the country. The process in the Senate's Justice Committee comes a month after Senate leaders requested [JURIST report] that a bill be drafted by January 31 that would give legal status to unions of all unmarried couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, for tax purposes and otherwise. AFP has more.

The new center-left government of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official website; BBC profile] promised before taking office last May to consider recognizing civil unions. The policy has already prompted condemnation from the Vatican [JURIST report], with Pope Benedict denouncing any legal recognition of same-sex couples.

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