Link to Marriage Partnerships and Parenting in the 21st Century conference

See Coverage From June 8, 2021

How Holland Did It -
An Interview with Kees Waaldijk




Turin Congress Center auditorium (Photo by, 2002)
Turin Congress Center auditorium at the opening of the June 5 political forum: strategies for legislative change.




A chandelier and stained glass window in the main stairway of the Turin Province government building when the conference organizers held a press conference.  (Photo by, 2002)
A stairway leading up to the second floor of the Turin provincial government building (photo at right taken from 2nd floor balcony); location of a press conference organized by ILGLaw and InformaGay.






Reclining nude in the grass courtyard of the government buidling (photo by, 2002)
Reclining nude in the grass courtyard of the Turin government building





The opulent reception room used for the press conference at the opening of the Turin conference. (Photo by, 2002)
The opulent surroundings of the historic and beautiful Turin government building, location for the press conference on the opening day - June 4, 2002





Stefano Fabeni, Fraco Mittica (Informagay), and Nicoletta, after the press conference - Photo by, 2002
Stefano Fabeni, Nicoletta, Franco Mittica (some of the great people who hosted the conference in Italy)




A small street off of Girabaldi in Turin (photo by, 2002)
A small street running of Giribaldi in the centre of Turin.




Marriage Partnerships and Parenting
in the 21st Century

June 5-8, 2002 | Turin, Italy

The International Lesbian and Gay Law Association and InformaGay (Italy) organized a conference to explore legal issues related to marriage, partnerships and parenting. We were honoured to be the keynote speakers on Friday, June 7. We hope we provided some useful insights from our perspective along the road to equality.

The conference includes:

  • Strategies for legislative change: A moderated discussion between politicians, activists and trade unions representaSketch By Aditya Bondyopadhyay (presented by the artist to, 2002)tives from diverse jurisdictions about achieving equality through statutory law reform Convenors: Douglas Elliott, Stefano Fabeni
  • Surviving partner rights, including housing, inheritance and pensions. Convenor: Kathleen Lahey
  • Transsexual marriage. Convenor: Cynthia Petersen
  • Adoption by same-sex partner(s). Convenor: Robert Wintemute
  • The role of judges in implementing national and international human rights.

The conference was our first speaking engagement following the publication of our book Just Married: Gay marriage and the expansion of human rights (June 1, 2021).

We left Toronto the evening of June 2nd, bound for Amsterdam, where we had the pleasure of a seven-hour stop over, before our final flight to Turin, Italy. Joanna Radbord and her partner Michelle were on the same flight as us, but they had the forethought to book a bus tour from the airport to the city and back in time for our June 3 afternoon flight.

A second floor view of the Via Maria Vittoria from a reception room balcony in the provincial capital building.  (photo by, Kevin and I did not reserve a spot in time, so instead we thought we'd sit in the airport and write our speach. I even found a place to plug in our computer. But the comfortable chairs, some actually built to sleep in, were just too inviting after a long, hot flight to Europe.

By the time we climbed over the alps and taxied into Turin, we were ready to collapse! No matter that my luggage didn't survive the various connections - I was assured it would be forwarded to my hotel, and indeed it was later that night.

The Hotel Victoria, our home for the week, was nestled among the shops and bars off of the Via Maria Vittoria and our room was a well appointed mini-suite, complete with a jacuzzi-built-for-two and a four poster bed. The moorish tone of the room gave us a feeling of nestling away in an exotic destination. In spite of airline fatigue, we both found ourselves ready to begin exploring the city.

Our desire for an introduction to the city was soon realized as we had just finished unpacking, when Our landmark home to our hotel (the neon sign is just visable under the arch) - Photo by equalmarriage.caa call from the lobby indicated that Douglas Elliott and his co-chair for the conference, Stefano Fabeni were in the lobby. They soon had us wandering the streets of Turin, Stefano pointing out many of the interesting historical buildings and monuments that are scattered throughout the narrow streets. Douglas also provided numerous historical insights into the events that had shaped Turin's development and they laughA typical Turino street in the downtown section.  (Photo by equalmarriage.caed and smiled so easily, it was very difficult to imagine them as anxious about hosting an international conference that would begin in just over 24 hours. Over dinner they invited us to attend the next day's press conference, a precursor to the actual symposium. Not wanting to miss Douglas' first speech in Italian (he'd only been studying for a week), we agreed that we would be there.

Douglas Elliott (left) and Stefano Fabeni at the Turin press conference (Photo by, 2002)The press conference the following day (June 4) was held in the historic offices of the Province of Turin, a majestic building with soaring ceilings and a delicate courtyard that opened into a magnificent sculpture garden. The press conference itself was held in the "Hall of marble", where an intricate chrysanthimum motif adorned the exquisite stained glass windows. While the conference participants spent some minutes schmoozing with each other, Kevin and I lost ourselves among the art and sculpture of the building. It was like being backstage at an outstanding version of the Antiques Roadshow.

When the press assembled, the prepared remarks began and Kevin busied himself with capturing everything he could on tape. Moving around the room with the practiced step of one who has been to a number of press conferences, I amused myself watching the local press try to work out exactly what news orgStefano Fabeni and Douglas Elliott at the opening press conference in Turin, Italy. (Photo by, 2002)anization Kevin was with. Meanwhile, the panel was delivering their opening remarks and I tried to put my limited knowledge of Italian into practice, while working with my background in French to follow what was being said. It was not a success and so I turned my attention back to Kevin who was getting more stares from the news hounds as he switched modes on his camera and went from shooting video to digital still pictures. The scribblers now clearly decided that he was from some overly financially endowed North American news channel and dismissed him as "non-Euro" news trash.

Then suddenly I heard my name. Stefano had introduced Kevin and I as the keynote speakers and explained what had happened here in Canada. Several of the press looked at us and revised their opinion from non Euro news trash to non Euro news item. After that Douglas addressed the press (in what sounded very practiced and natural Italian - the man's a marvel) and the conference ended.

During the typical post-scrum hum, a couple of reporters made their way over to us. They asked questions in Italian and we politely nodded and apologized for not speaking Italian. They smiled and repeated their question louder. Fortunately, Douglas and the charming woman who helped organize the conference, Nicoletta, arrived on the scene and bridged the communication gap. The reporter asked about our case, and what we did for a living, which was duly reported in the coverage in La Stampa the next day.

See coverage from Turin - June 8, 2021

A report in Italian from Franco Grillini

Coming Soon:

I will be transcribing some of our recordings of the conference proceedings, in order to bring you some highlights, in the near future. Stay tuned!