San and Santa Remo
Its the yearly festival of the banal and mediocre as the media desperate nonentities don their non A list frocks and parade round San Remo in the pretence of being important. This year we have a list of uninteresting vacuous showbiz lovelies to make us feel inadequate, but despite their best attempts at ultimate blandness a flicker of social responsibility makes itself felt through the use of rainbow coloured tassels. Yes, San Remo this year coincides with the parliamentary debate on the DDL Cirinna on civil unions and stepchild adoptions. Despite the best attempts of ITalian politicians to show their complete inability to reflect the feeling of their electors, the ‘artistes’ at San Remo are almost universally in favour. The European court of Human Rights has condemned Italy for not introducing legislation earlier and made Renzi promise to do something. The result is a particularly pathetic proposal which finally puts the state above the church, smoething already enshrined in the constitution but conveniently ignored by all and sundry.
There are wailings and gnashings of teeth from the usual hypocrites. The DC/NCD wing, such as Alfano the home office minister, get all frothy at the mouth because they are Catholics and therefore cannot do anything that could possibly be seen as indicative of christian love and values. The right wing send tweets here and there proclaiming that Sodom is about to arrive in Italy because a gay couple will have the same rights as a married heterosexual couple. The closeted politicians send offensive messages trying to show that they are ‘right thinking’ but merely show themselves up for being even more hypocritical and cowardly than the rest.
In the meantime Elton John sings at San Remo and doesnt say anything which is a bit of a disappointment, as the side of the misinformation is winning hands down. Even Beppe Grillo – and the 5stelle has announced that he will allow a vote of conscience on the issue. This is deeply worrying, as the public face of the 5stelle is a liberal and forward thinking movement but in reality is proving to be a pretty reactionary force for ‘bad’. The question is why are people so hett up about this legislation that will have no impact whatsover on the vast majority of the population?
The civil union bill will allow for the first time in Italy the state of common law spouse – something which the church has fought against for years. For the first time in Italy, a couple who live together, of any combination of sexes, will have the same rights as a couple who has spent a lot of money on flowers and food. As Italy at the moment lives in the heady days of 19th century morals, and equally heady 19th century hypocrisy we have a situation where one half of a couple which cohabits and has children is completely disenfranchised if the other half dies. Not only can they not inherit property, so are often thrown out by the blood relations, but often are not allowed in the hospital room of their other half to say goodbye. For those with children, they can lose any rights, as the kids are awarded to grandma’s, aunts or anyone else in the family. This nonsensical state of affairs, which was righted in other European countries decades ago, is still rife in ITaly.
The civil union bill also allows same sex couples and different sex couples the same rights on pensions, health care etc – all the things which most people now see as normal and fair. But not here.
And the piece of the jigsaw which has aroused the wrath of the bishops – the ones who wear the best fancy dress – is stepchild adoption. Now, its necessary here to read the words carefully – stepchild and adoption, because the Italian press would have us believe that same sex couples are about to run off and copy Brad and Angelina adopting hordes of vulnerable foreign kids just because they match their luggage. The particular word to notice here is stepchild. The legislation is pretty clear. A biological father or mother who sets up home with their kid and a person of teh same sex (cue twitching of priestly frocks), means that their other half can adopt the child. Obviously if one of the parents then dies, the child isnt then bunged into a van and deposited at an orphanage because it has two parents. The visions conjured up by the right wing and catholic press/politicians of predatory paedophiles planning long term relationships just so they can get their mitts on an adopted child is frankly, repulsive.
Yesterday Renzi too backtracked on his promises and has allowed a conscience vote on the adoption issue. Again lots of misinformation about what the law contains, but what I want to know is what exactly is the conscience on this one. How can someone actually be against this law? Obvously if their conscience also dictates that burning women at the stake who might be witches is perfectly acceptable, or perhaps its a matter of conscience if you send small children up chimneys, or allow women out of their houses during the hours of daylight, I can understand it – but here we are talking about people who dont question the rights of women or children or pretty cuddly doggies. What they have a problem is with treating humans in the same way, because they can’t tell the difference between love and sex.
We now have the distinct possibility that the law will not pass, in which case I sincerely hope that everyone will cancel their holidays to Italy until its politicans see a bit of sense and humanity.