Dear prof., dear Minister Alfano, one day we will remember of when gays were not allowed to get married and we will be saying: How was that even possible?

Recently, Daria Bignardi published a new article on her blog “Cara Prof, caro ministro Alfano, un giorno ricorderemo quando i gay non si potevano sposare, e diremo: come è successo?” I decided to translate it into English, for those who still ask me if in the Land of Love – as somebody referred to it (that is, Italy), gay couples have the right to be happy and get married like the rest of the population. I hope the article below gives an idea.

The original Italian version of this article

The original Italian version of this article

I’m writing this from a small and beautiful city, Ljubljana – Slovenia, where last week they passed a law that legalised same-sex marriage. By now, literally we only have to cross the border outside Italy to get married, it is no longer just a metaphor.

I wonder when are we really going to cross that border though. Never, it looks like, considering how backward we are. While in the rest of the civilised world whoever can get married, here we are still cheering and exulting if the Court pushes back Alfano’s request to even stop recording in the city of Rome’s civil registries the same-sex marriages and civil partnerships celebrated abroad, in those places where it is legal (Angelino Alfano is Italy’s Minister of Interior).

Italy is still that place where a high school teacher can put up a message on the school’s board that recites: “Nature decided to structure a man’s body so that it can be united with the woman’s. The only relation able to generate life is the one between a man and a woman and marriage is the juridical recognition of that relation. Imposing equality of any other form of relations is a choice that has no validation in reality”.

This happened at Liceo Scientifico Leonardo da Vinci in Milan.

“Imposing”? “Generate life”? “Nature decided to structure a body”?

How are you even talking? Personally, I wouldn’t even leave my children with this teacher just for the way she expresses herself, left alone for her opinions, which they sound like believes rather than opinions.

Just how Sebastiano Maturi reminds us in his book “Il giorno più felice della mia vita” (The most beautiful day of my life), we are the only ones in Europe, along with Greece, who don’t have one single law on gay rights, although all over the world nowadays same-sex couples can get married without risking to jeopardise the traditional concept of family, in case this is what opponents are worried about.

A law on civil rights looks now closer (they promised, we shall see), but marriage is still a taboo and it is going to be for a while yet. Why? Why can’t a homosexual in Italy even dream to get married one day?

Why are we so backward? The “automatic pilot” would like us to answer to this with: Because we are catholic; because there is the Vatican. In Spain they are catholic too, but they’ve had gay marriages for years!

“I thought that the only choice was between loving a man and a woman and that all I had to do was ignoring my wishes and keeping going with choosing a woman. Then I understood that the choice was instead between being happy and pretending to be”, Mauri says, who, despite being the son of leftish and progressive parents, and despite realising he was gay at the age of 5, he waited to be 30 to come out.

Every couple has the right to get married if they want to. It’s just a matter of time, but it will happen, even here, because it is inevitable as well as natural that it is going to happen. Then we will be wondering (we might be dead by then, in which case our children will be wondering and they will make movies about it), how it was even possible that back in the day such elementary rights were refused, just like nowadays we remember of the time when women or black people were not allowed to vote.

“It’s just absurd that this happened”, we will be saying: how was it even possible that someone could imagine refusing such a simple right just because of one’s gender or skin colour? Yes, right: how is that even possible?

Daria Bignardi, March 10th, 2015

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