Following Gay Example, Italians Argue Against ‘Marital Fidelity’

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 11: Revelers celebrate during the annual gay pride parade on Copacabana beach December 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Marchers called for expanded rights and protection from violence for those in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty …

An amendment to Italy’s Civil Code would remove references to “fidelity” from the institution of marriage, following the model adopted for Italy’s gay civil unions.

Passed earlier this year, the Italian civil unions bill omitted references to fidelity and marital faithfulness, and referred simply to “moral and material support” and “cohabitation.”

Senator Laura Cantini (PD), one of those arguing for dropping the current fidelity clause from heterosexual marriage contracts, said that the promise not to cheat is a “vestige from an outdated and obsolete vision of marriage, family, and the rights and duties of spouses.”

On the other hand, the less restrictive wording of the civil unions bill represents “a much more advanced model,” Cantini said.

Throughout the world, same-sex marriages are leading the drive toward more open, flexible arrangements than traditionally understood.

A 2010 Gay Couples Study conducted by Colleen Hoff at the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, San Francisco, found that 47 percent of gay couples had “sex agreements” that specifically allowed sexual activity with others.

Fewer than half of the 566 “committed gay couples” studied over a three-year period described their relationships as monogamous.

Despite the banner of “marriage equality” flown by proponents of same-sex marriage, in point of fact gay unions and traditional marriage are strikingly different in practice, especially regarding marital fidelity.

While only 7 percent of Americans believe that adultery is morally acceptable among married heterosexuals, a majority of gays in committed relationships explicitly affirm sexual infidelity as acceptable or even preferable.

Moreover, even among the minority of gay couples who describe their relationships as “monogamous,” such a term does not rule out sexual activity with other partners. “All participants perceived fidelity as emotional monogamy,” the San Francisco study found. Sexual encounters with others did not count as cheating as long as it was compartmentalized, which they defined as “the process of separating sex from emotion and was key to most participants’ ability to manage sex outside the relationship.”

The new bill that would eliminate “marital fidelity” from Italian law has passed the Senate and is now under review by the Judiciary Committee.

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