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For the first time in Italy next Sunday will be officially celebrated a gay marriage between two homosexual men.
Ciro Celsi, a forty-two years old architect, and Guido Lanza, a sixty-two former computer programmer, both Protestants, will get married in the Waldensian Evangelic Church of Milan. This is a Protestant Reformed Church based mostly in Northern Italy, which has active congregations also in Argentina, Uruguay, United States and other European countries, which were all founded by Italian immigrants.
Waldensians support the LGBT community and encourage the homosexual couples’ blessing. Their commitment for the gay issue and the struggle against homophobia has been always strong. Last year the Waldensian Synod also approved gay couples, making possible in this way the union between people of the same sex.
As other Protestants, the Waldensians don’t recognize the marriage as a sacrament, but only as an official blessing for couples who want to obtain the recognition of their love by their Church. “Waldensians don’t intend to consecrate homosexuality; we just take note of a mutual and reliable bond. It is a wonderful thing. I’m scandalized by the hypocrisy and by the sour spirit of those who use the Holy Scriptures to discriminate and offend,” said the Milan Minister Giuseppe Platone. “Ciro and Guido are not demanding their right to be respected, this would be the State’s duty, but to show their love’s gift,” he added.
And about the Italian law he said: “I’m indignant for the juridical lack on this matter, when for example in a Catholic country as Spain it is also possible the marriage between homosexual people. It’s shameful that a country as Italy is not able to respect the rights of all, of all the people who love each other. The Waldensian Church is not Las Vegas, it’s not a marriage bureau, it asks to God”. “Our choice doesn’t have any juridical value; it’s just an act of faith, a moral commitment”.
Besides the homosexuality issue, the Waldensian Church is involved also in debates regarding other issues as euthanasia, abortion, living will, and stem cell research. Waldensians strongly support the total and complete laity of the state, an objective difficult to achieve in a country as Italy, which is still heavily influenced by the Catholic Church also in its juridical decisions.
Next Sunday’s gay marriage won’t be official but a good sign of respect for people and their love. Why in the 21st century religion is still so strong to influence countries’ legislation and lay societies?