20 June 2016
On May 11th, 2016, the bill “Rules and regulations governing civil unions between people of the same sex and cohabitation” was approved.
The Law (n°. 76 of May 20th, 2016), published in Official Gazette n°. 118 of May 21st, 2016, and brought into effect on June 5th, 2016, introduces civil union between two people of the same sex and governs de facto cohabitation.
- May be established between two adult people of the same sex through a declaration made before a Registrar, in the presence of two witnesses; the union gets recorded in the state civil registry. The partners can decide to take on a shared surname, or place one’s surname before/after the shared surname.
- The partners acquire the same rights and duties; in particular they shall provide moral and material assistance, live together, decide on a common residence, and contribute to the couple’s economic needs according to their assets and ability to work.
- May not be established in case of any previous marriage or civil union ties, interdiction or family connections.
- May be dissolved through expression of will by either or both partners before the Registrar.
- The said rules and regulations shall also apply to European and non-European citizens; in particular:
Any homosexual couples who decide to unite in accordance with new law provisions may benefit from the opportunity – like married couples – to get the residence permit for their respective foreign partners for family reasons.
- Non-EU foreigners who regularly live in Italy may apply for family reunification for their partners
- Italian or EU nationals who have entered into civil unions with foreign partners may avail themselves of the rights under Law 30/2007 concerning the circulation and residence of EU citizens and their (non-EU) relatives, and the rules established by the Consolidation Act on Immigration (art. 19, paragraph 3, concerning the prohibition to expel the spouse of, or the partner living together with, an Italian citizen).
De facto cohabitation:
- May be established between two adult heterosexual or homosexual people
- The partners shall cohabit and shall not have entered into a marriage or civil union before
- A cohabitation agreement may be drawn to “regulate property relations concerning common life.” Registration is made in writing through a public or private deed, authenticated by either a lawyer or a notary public.
- European and non-European citizens: the law has not introduced any changes, as cohabitation is not comparable to civil union/marriage. Therefore, the rules and regulations concerning immigration and residence may not apply to these cases. As for European citizens, the regulations do not impact the status quo, except when unions or cohabitation have been made official in a country where unions and cohabitation are deemed to be legally identical to marriage.
The said rules and regulations should be implemented by all authorities as from 05/06/2016; however, although the law has been brought into effect and the Ministry of the Interior has sent circulars to the relevant local authorities, the application to specific situations has not been made clear yet, and such public offices as town councils, prefectures and police headquarters do not seem to have converted the new rules and regulations into a procedure.