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San Marino About to Establish a Civil Union
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of November 22, 2018) The Grand General Council (unicameral parliament) of San Marino adopted a law, in its second and final reading on 15 November 2018, introducing a registered partnership (or unione civile in Italian) for unmarried couples, regardless of the sex of the partners. The legislative proposal was adopted by 40 votes in favor, 4 against and 4 abstentions. According to the Official Journal of 20 November 2018, it will enter into force “on the fifteenth day following its publication”, i.e. on 4 December 2018. It will become part of the San Marino legal system, as will the amendment to the law allowing same-sex marriages between foreigners December 2017, and an as yet unapproved constitutional amendment prohibiting any discrimination based on sexual orientation. Unfortunately, none of these texts allow homosexual couples to marry in San Marino or adopt children without a biological connection to either partner.
Law adopted – but the past is not forgotten (screenshot of Unioni civili per San Marino on Facebook).
The 14 articles of the law of 15 November 2018 allow straight, gay or lesbian couples to hold a public partnership celebration in state buildings. On the other hand, they grant them only certain rights, identical to those of heterosexual couples, but without adoption rights.
Specifically, the law stipulates that this registered partnership (“civil union”) “shall unite two adults of the same or different sex” (Art. 1) “by a joint declaration before the registrar or his representative” (Art. 3). It is also possible to convert a gay marriage concluded abroad into a “civil union” under San Marino law (Art. 3). The partners have the same rights as married couples with regards to residence and citizenship, social security law, old-age or survivors' pensions, health care and inheritance law (Art. 9). Article 10 does not explicitly refer to adoption, but to the “recognition of children born within such a civil union”, to whom the customary right of descent applies, and to children born previously (i.e. natural and minor children). They can be accepted by the couple if they are at least 16 years old and agree themselves. Minors under the age of 16 can only be accepted with the partner’s consent.
Article 11 explicitly prohibits any discrimination on the basis of “registered partnership status” and is thus the first legal act against homophobia in San Marino.
A (relatively) innovative law in a (very) conservative country.
The original text of the law was presented to Parliament on 18 December 2017, following a popular initiative and with the support of the ruling center-left coalition, which was particularly concerned with homosexual partnerships for tourist reasons. Unfortunately, after the first reading on 7 March 2018, the original provision providing for a right to full or unconditional adoption of children was deleted.
San Marino had already exempted homosexuality from punishment in 1864. However, a law passed in 1974 but abolished again in 2004 made homosexual relations, punishable again if they might cause a “public scandal”. According to Wikipedia, however, the law of 1974 was never implemented. Same-sex couples (including foreign couples) have only been allowed to live together in San Marino since 2012.
In the video clip below, the official presentation of San Marino omits two important facts: Firstly, the small republic is a tax haven in which the approximately 33,394 inhabitants (according to the September 2018 census) enjoy preferential treatment. Secondly, San Marino has long been a bad spot for gays, lesbians and homosexual couples who want to live out of the closet.