Catholic World News

Massive crowd in Rome protests proposal to recognize same-sex unions

February 01, 2016

An enormous crowd gathered at the Circus Maximus in Rome on January 31 to protest plans for the legal recognition of same-sex unions in Italy.

The size of the crowd for the “Family Day” demonstration was a matter of keen debate among different news outlets. Some referred to “thousands” of demonstrations, while others said “tens of thousands;” the event’s organizers claimed that over 1 million people had attended. Although there were no reliable statistics on the crowd size, at least 1,500 buses had been chartered for the occasion, with countless other participants arriving by car, foot, or public transportation.

Speakers at the Family Day rally concentrated on the argument that homosexual individuals already have legal rights, and a move toward acceptance of their unions would endanger the principle that every child should have a mother and a father.

Legislation to register civil unions will be taken up for debate in the Italian Senate on February 2. Although the proposed legislation stops well short of recognizing same-sex marraige, as other European nations have done, popular resistance in Italy has been fierce. Massimo Gandolfini, one of the main organizers of the Sunday rally, remarked: “Italy is one of the few Western countries that is still resisting this deviation.”

The Family Day rally was largely organized by Catholic lay groups. The Italian bishops’ conference—which in past years has led the opposition to acceptance of homosexual unions—did not openly support the event. Cardinal Angelo Bagnaso of Genoa, the president of the episcopal conference, made a strong statement of support for male-female marriage last week; but the secretary-general of the conference, Bishop Nuncio Galantino, has been perceived as open to the new legislation. Pope Francis has avoided public comment on the issue.

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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Feb. 02, 2016 11:39 AM ET USA

    Shame on the Italian episcopate! What is the matter with our bishops everywhere, it seems? They seem to be afraid to speak out and to defend our Church teachings on ethics and morality. Especially in the area of sexual morality. They seem to not want to go against the secular world of politics. To get along? Be nice? Don't rock the boat? Could it be that they agree with the legislation? Could there be homosexuals among them? Church Militant says almost 50/50.

  • Posted by: MatJohn - Feb. 01, 2016 7:34 PM ET USA

    The odor of hundreds of thousands of sheep in Rome apparently never reached his holiness.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 01, 2016 5:24 PM ET USA

    The Italians seem to have more sense on this matter than we do.