The shape of a heart with an equal sign and a small alarm clock bearing the same symbol is held by a supporter of same-sex civil unions during a demonstration in Rome's Piazza delle cinque Lune on January 28, 2016. / AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE
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Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to protest in Rome's Circus Maximus arena Saturday against a civil unions bill for same-sex couples, a hot-potato issue for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government.The Senate began examining the bill Thursday, which would enable gay people to commit to one another before a state official and, in certain circumstances, adopt each other's children and inherit residual pension rights.Center-left Renzi has said he is confident the bill will pass, though there are several sticking points, in particular the ability to adopt the biological children of one's partner.It will not be an easy win for Renzi. His center-right coalition allies are categorically opposed to adoption of children by a gay spouse, as is the Catholic fringe of the prime minister's own Democratic Party (PD).
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