• Italy holds confidence vote on gay unions bill


    ROME: Italy is set to legalize gay civil unions with a confidence vote in parliament Wednesday on a bill hailed as a historic turning point but criticized as a missed opportunity for greater change. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called the vote, which begins at 2:10 p.m. (1210 GMT) in the lower house, to force the controversial bill through, putting his cabinet on the line in a challenge to the Catholic right and rebels in his own party. Italy is the last major Western country not to allow gay couples legal status, but after years of thwarted efforts the draft law is expected to pass. If the government survives the ballot, the bill itself will be voted in later Wednesday or Thursday. “Enough delays, the time is now,” Parliamentary Relations Minister Maria Elena Boschi, a close Renzi ally, tweeted Tuesday.



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