The bill which Cirinnà introduced on Tuesday is an unified version of many bills that were filed in the current legislature by MPs of different parties.
Cirinnà hopes that the bill will "definitely approved before the end of the year", because she added that "we must fill a legal vacuum no more bearable ... the parliament must do in 6 months what it hasn't done in 8 years". About 8 years ago the center-left government tried to regulate the cohabitation of same and opposite-sex couples, but some Ministers and MPs that supported the Government threatened to leave the majority (the Catholic Church and even Pope Benedict XVI stepped in the debate and did all they could to block the bill).
If the bill will be approved the Italian family law will change dramatically. This is a summary: Marriage will be available only for straight couples, Civil Union for gay and lesbian couple; than if you don't want to marry or to register your civil union you can still cohabit and receive some benefits or you could also stipulate a "cohabitation contract" with your partner.
In each comune (municipality, the plural forms is comuni) will be established the "National Register of Civil Unions" (Registro Nazionale delle Unione Civili) where gay and lesbian couples have the opportunity to formalize their union before the Registrar of the Civil Status (the state official). At least two witnesses must attend before the registration of the union in the National Register. When a couple writes down their names in the register the partners should decide the matrimonial regime. The registration of a civil union will grant to the two partners the same rights and duties of a married couple but not the right to adopt conjointly. However the partner will be able to adopt the child of the other partner.
Same and opposite-sex couples who don't want to register a civil union or to marry can cohabit and receive some benefits. Any contract that stipulates the cohabitation would be recorded before a notary.
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