House extends health cover to gay MPs' partners
Rome, May 14 - The House on Tuesday approved a new rule which allows gay MPs' health benefits to be extended to their partners.
The decision follows a request by a center-left Democratic Party (PD) member of parliament, Ivan Scalfarotto.
The issue had already been put under the consideration of the previous parliament, by then MP Anna Paola Concia, but a decision was never reached.
Alessandro Zan, a deputy with the left-wing SEL party, said the decision to change the rules was "very positive" as it "annuls an unjustified discrimination in regards to gay and lesbian parliamentarians who request it".
Zan used the decision to call for wider application of the principle to all gay and lesbian couples in Italy.
"This is an important decision because it sanctions a principle of equality. That same principle which has to be extended to everyone and which explains why it is urgent to have laws on gay couples," Zan said.
"This right can't be only a privilege for MPs. There are many gay and lesbian couples who are waiting for rights".
Other MPs agreed with the need to extend the law to Italians more broadly as well as to the Senate.
Sergio Lo Giudice, a Senator with the PD, said "Now I expect that the same will happen in the Senate, where I requested that my health coverage be extended also to my husband Michele.
"Today's decision has to become a reference point for the approval of a law which recognizes equal rights to same-sex couples, as requested to the Parliament by the Constitutional Court".