Civil unions bill 'eliminates discrimination'

Extends existing rights not creates new ones says EC

Italy's civil rights bill doesn't create new rights, it extends existing ones to the disenfranchised, the human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe (CoE) said Friday. "Italy is...simply eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation," Commissioner Nils Muiznieks told ANSA. Legal precedents set by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights are clear, he said. "If heterosexual unmarried couples can adopt their partner's children, gay unmarried couples must be able to do the same," Muiznieks spelled out.
    Right now in Italy, children born to same-sex couples risk ending up in the foster system if one of their parents die, because the surviving parent has no legal custody of them. The bill now before the Senate would also extend to partners in a civil union some of the rights heterosexual married couples enjoy, such as the right to inherit a deceased spouse's benefits and property, or to make decisions in their stead should one partner become incapacitated. Italy is the only West European country without gay marriage or civil unions, and the European Court of Human Rights in July 2015 condemned the country for failing to give gay couples legal "recognition and protection", saying the State must change its laws to remedy that.
   

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