"We're next," says Italy after Irish gay marriage vote

Socially conservative Italy now is the only Western European country that does not recognize either same sex marriage or civil unions. But that the Irish referendum garnered an unexpectedly strong 62 per cent “Yes” vote in such a deeply Catholic country rallied backers of the Italian law, which has been languishing in parliament for months.

Several editorials on Sunday suggested that such a referendum in Italy would have a similar outcome, recalling the divorce referendum in 1974, when 60 percent of Italian voters went against the wishes of the Catholic church on a major social issue.

La Repubblica reported Mr Renzi confided privately that in the wake of the Ireland vote the question of civil unions in Italy can no longer be put off. Many of his key cabinet members and key party allies spoke out in favor of swift passage of the proposed legislation.