The tiny European state of San Marino is to maintain its total ban on abortion. The country’s governing Grand and General Council voted to reject proposals to end the ban, and also decided against recognising same-sex marriages celebrated abroad.
The Gazzetta del Sud said the proposal had been put forward by the tiny republic’s two Captains Regent, who act as joint heads-of-state, but the council, which acts as the country’s parliament, voted by 27 members to 23 against legalising abortion.
The council did, however, approve plans not to prosecute San Marino citizens who travel abroad to have abortions. The country has an area of just 24 square miles and is entirely surrounded by Italy, making it easy for women to travel across the border for a termination – abortion has been legal in Italy since 1978.
The vote on recognition of same-sex marriages failed by an even bigger margin, with 35 councillors voting against the proposal, compared to 15 in favour.
The Local says that the vote came about after Federico Podeschi became the first San Marino citizen to enter a gay marriage when he wed his British partner Darren Williams in London earlier this year.
He wrote in a Facebook post: “I am not a human being in my mother country, only when I’m outside of the Republic.”
The state of San Marino is the world’s oldest republic, founded in AD 301. It has remained largely unchanged during its 1,700-year history, with its independence constantly reaffirmed by European leaders throughout history.
The country is deeply socially conservative, with the Catholic Church maintaining a dominant role in public life.