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Pope Francis Dines With LGBT Inmates In An Italian Prison: VIDEO

Francis

Pope Francis continued to set himself apart from his Papal predecessors this past weekend by paying a visit to a prison in Naples. In an effort to further reach out to the public and reorient the the Church’s focus, Francis joined some 90 inmates for a lunch gathering prepared by the convicts themselves. The inmates were selected via a raffle from a pool of nearly 2,000 people including inmates from the prison’s specialized ward for LGBT identified persons and those battling HIV/AIDS.

Francis’s choice to break bread with members of Italy’s queer population is the latest in a long line of somewhat mixed messages the newest Pope has shared about the Catholic Church’s shifting stance on LGBT equality. While Francis has repeatedly fallen back on the Church’s traditionally negative views regarding gays and marriage equality, he’s also alluded to having a somewhat more even-keeled perspective. While Francis has stopped short of full-on coming out in support of gay rights, he’s repeatedly stressed that the Catholic Church’s energies would be put to better use focusing on being more inclusive.

Most recently the Pope met with Diego Neria Lejárragam a Spanish transgender man, who was ostracized by his church following his decision to have gender reassignment surgery. In an impassioned letter Lejárraga asked to have  meeting with the Pope in order to seek out advice about how to reconcile his gender identity with his faith and his desire to remain an active participant of the church. A month later, however, Francis made clear that he was only so tolerant of the concept of gender identity.

Francis seems to be at his most comfortable when he’s vacillating somewhere between old-school institutional bigotry and tepid acceptance of LGBT people. Disorienting as his mixed messaging may be, there’s a chance that his shifting views may reflect on his outlook on the papacy. While he’s expressed that he doesn’t “mind being the Pope,” Francis has also alluded to missing his former life as a regular priest. It’s unclear whether or not the Pope is contemplating stepping down in the near future, but his brushes with LGBT acceptance could be a sign of decisions to come.

Watch an ABC News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Italy's Highest Appeals Court Rules Against Gay Marriage

Rome

Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation, the country's highest appeals court has ruled that same-sex marriage is not constitutionally required. However, the court did rule that same-sex couples in Italy were entitled to certain rights and protections which the state must guarantee. Italian news site Ansa reports:

Italy's highest appeals court on Monday rejected same-sex marriage, saying there was nothing in the Constitution that requires the government to extend marriage rights to gays. However, the Cassation Court added that homosexuals have the right to a "protective" law that would ensure same-sex couples have the same rights as unmarried Italian couples. Neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions between same-sex partners are legally recognized in Italy but some cities, including Rome, have a civil union register.

In October, Rome's Mayor married 16 gay couples in defiance of Italy's laws on same-sex marriage. As the above report mentions, the eternal city created a register of civil unions for same-sex couples, a historic move. Bologna also came out in favor of recognizing same-sex unions in September.


Rome, Italy City Council Votes to Establish Register for Civil Unions

Rome

Rome's City Council approved the establishment of a register for civil unions on Thursday in a vote of 32-10 with one abstention, The Local reports:

MarinoThe long-awaited move was welcomed by (Mayor Ignazio) Marino (pictured) as aligning the Italian capital with European countries that already recognize gay unions.

“Today the capital of Italy gives a signal that, in this city, love is equal for everyone,” the mayor said in an online statement.

A spokesman for city hall was not immediately available to clarify whether same-sex couples will be afford greater rights under the measure. The local-level decision stands at odds with national legislation, which provides no legal framework for gay unions.

The register will automatically include same-sex unions legalized abroad, WIR reports:

The legislation was backed by the Partito Democratico (PD) mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino and his centre-left coalition, the anti-establishment Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) and Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL) but was opposed by centre-right parties Nuovo Centrodestra (NCD), Forza Italia (FI) and Fratelli d'Italia (FdI).


Here's a Gay Italian Love Story to Awaken Your Inner Romeo: MUSIC VIDEO

Estate

Italian independent filmmaker and Towleroad reader Roberto Laureri sends along a short film he shot set to the Italian classic "Estate" by Bruno Martino, which has become an internationally-known jazz standard (some may know the performance done by João Gilberto).

The track is about the memories of a lost love, and many of us have been there, though the clip may have you entertaining thoughts of running off to Europe to find one of your own.

Writes Laureri to Towleroad: "I shot this video in Italy to express the simplicity about love, how it's the same for every one."

Watch the gorgeous video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Rome Mayor Registers 16 Gay Marriages in Defiance of Italian Law: VIDEO

Marino

Rome's Mayor Ignazio Marino registered 16 gay marriages into city books today in defiance of Italian law, Bloomberg reports:

2_marino“Today is a special day that I hope will soon become a normal day,” Marino posted on his social media account along with pictures of himself wearing the mayor’s sash, posing with the smiling couples and their families inside Rome’s city hall. “How can you not call this love?” he asked in another post.

The move is controversial for a country that does not recognize same-sex unions of any kind. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano immediately responded through his own social media account, saying the mayor’s transcriptions weren’t valid.

“According to Italian law, this is not possible,” Alfano posted. “Marino’s signature can’t be a substitute for the law, all he did was give these very respectable couples his autograph.”

Watch videos of the event, as well as a "pro-family" protest outside, AFTER THE JUMP...

Marino had promised at the 20th anniversary of the first Rome Gay Parade in June that he would approve a civil union register and registration of gay marriages performed abroad.

Continue reading "Rome Mayor Registers 16 Gay Marriages in Defiance of Italian Law: VIDEO" »


Neil Patrick Harris' Italian Wedding Had Fireworks, Elton John and Kelly Clarkson: VIDEO

Nph

Neil Patrick Harris sat down with David Letterman to share some more intimate details about his recent wedding to longtime partner David Burtka in Italy. Harris talked about Sir Elton John's performance, his and David's first dance to Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" and the perfectly timed fireworks that took the couple's breath away.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Nph2

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