In May 2016, the Italian Parliament passed Law No. 76/2016 titled “Regulations of Civil Unions between Persons of the Same Sex and Discipline of Cohabitation.” The law provides for same-sex marriages and also introduces rights and protections to unmarried cohabitants. It followed on from a decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which in July 2015 condemned Italy for its legislative gap with respect to homosexual unions. Civil unions have since become a new public institution that regulates the rights and obligations of all couples living together without marriage, whether homosexual or any other type of couple. The legislation contains some gray areas: it excludes the possibility of stepchild adoption by homosexual couples and does not allow the adoption of children by unmarried heterosexual couples. Nonetheless, the civil union represents a key step toward the achievement of equality by recognizing new ways of being a family.
Giulia Maria Cavaletto
In the early months of 2007, the question of legal recognition for de
facto couples was one of the main talking points in public and political
debate. Having been included in the center-left Unione coalition’s
2006 general election manifesto, it gave rise to a parliamentary bill
known as the DICO. In this chapter, we will examine the issue and
implications of civil unions in order to gain a better understanding of
the current relationship between the Church, the Catholic community,
and Italian politics. Moreover, as we will see, analyzing events surrounding
the DICO inevitably leads to the sensitive subject of the Italian
state’s lay character. Campaigns for and against the DICO bill were
launched in the media and at the ground level not only by the Church
and specific parties, but also by ad hoc groups of Catholics and lay
people involved in politics. Indeed, we can view the DICO episode
against a wider background of regulation (or attempted regulation)
concerning ethically sensitive questions in recent years. It therefore
offers an interesting perspective from which to consider the type of
political representation adopted by the Church.
Siseko H. Kumalo
The historical debate, in African philosophy, on personhood has been characterised by radical and moderate communitarianism seen through the scholarship of Menkiti (1984) and Gyekye (1997) and continues contemporarily with scholars considering its implications on contemporary conceptions of rights.
Responding to Chemhuru’s compatibilist view that, he maintains, safeguards and guarantees individual rights, I showcase how his conception of the community as prior to the individual betrays his project. Using the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to contextualise rights discourse in Afro-communitarianism, Chemhuru avers that once collective rights have been gained, individuals can claim their rights. I critique this position to suggest that Chemhuru undermines his own project of compatibilism through placing the community prior to the individual. Using the Civil Union Act (2006) as a legislative framework that safeguards and guarantees individual human rights, I test Chemhuru’s compatibilist view. I conclude by highlighting the divergences between constitutionalism and Afro-communitarianism.