[JURIST] Italy's Cabinet approved a controversial proposal [PDF text, in Italian; JURIST report] Thursday that would give legal rights to unmarried heterosexual and same-sex couples [JURIST news archive]. The proposal, which has been harshly criticized by the Italian justice minister and the top Italian bishop [JURIST reports], would give unmarried 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. Couples would have to live together for nine years before they would be entitled to property rights, but if the legislation is passed, couples would be able to take advantage of the other legal protections immediately.
The legislation must still be approved by the Italian parliament. AP has more.