Bill to Recognize Cohabitants Is Criticized

Groups Says Italian Proposal Not Needed

ROME, FEB. 19, 2007 ( The Italian government’s bill on the legal recognition of the rights of cohabitants has drawn criticism from the Cardinal Van Thuân International Observatory.

Stefano Fontana, director of the group that promotes the Church’s social doctrine, wrote an article posted last week on the institution’s Web site that says the law goes too far.

Fontana explained that such a law is not necessary as “individual rights are already covered in the Italian Constitution.”

It is unnecessary to provide “legislation that recognizes a ‘de jure’ status to cohabitants who want to remain a ‘de facto’ couple,” said Fontana.

Cohabitation “does not deserve any kind of public recognition,” Fontana explained, “because it is not based on the prior assumption of duties and it is inconsistent with the centrality of the family founded on marriage encompassed by the constitution.”

Such legislation, Fontana explained, would have “predictable repercussions on people’s mindset and customs.”

“It would reinforce the equivalence between desire and rights,” Fontana stated. “It would pave the way for future expansions of the so-called rights of cohabitants and could even lead to equate cohabitations with the true family.”

Fontana sees the new legislation of cohabitation as a misstep in achieving the vision of secularism that includes religion and ethics promoted by Benedict XVI.