In the past two decades, legal and policy questions about same-sex families were strongly debated in various nations. Much progress has been made in advancing the cause of civil rights for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people in some countries. In Italy, there is still no law establishing the legality of the union between two adult persons of the same sex, so lesbians and gay males cannot gain a relationship status which is available to heterosexual married couples. Furthermore, it is not possible for gays and lesbians who are single or cohabitating to adopt a child.
This is the first study to evaluate the desire to marry and attitudes toward same-sex family legalization in a sample of Italian lesbian and gay adults. Results reveal that gay men have a lower desire to marry than lesbian participants. The Sexuality dimension revealed a pessimistic evaluation of the quality and duration of intimate relationships and a negative impression of gay or lesbian sexual behaviors. The data suggested that Italian gay men have a more negative evaluation of same-sex couples, and this is consistent with a greater pressure placed on gay men in Italy to conform to a heteronormative gender role. It was clear however that a large proportion of Italian lesbians and gay men possess a desire for long-term romantic relationships and to marry their partners should same-sex marriage be an available legal option in Italy.