Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s right-wing Lega party has tabled a proposal that would see couples who get married in churches receive a tax deduction of up to €20,000, a sum that would help subsidize the high cost of wedding dresses, rings, photographs, and other expenses associated with the ceremony.
Lega’s proposal, presented to the Chamber of Deputies, would be available to couples whose gross annual income is under €23,000 and who have been citizens of Italy for no less than 10 years. It seeks to counteract the precipitous decline in marriages celebrated with a religious rite, especially among young Italians, the Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera reports.
The document presented to Italy’s lower house notes that between 2019 and 2020—amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—the number of marriages celebrated with a religious rite dropped by 67.9%, while the number of civil marriages dropped by 28.9%.
Lega lawmakers say the reasons “that keep young couples away from the altar and which lead them to consider only civil marriage” are primarily economic in nature, asserting that “civil marriage is in itself a less onerous celebration than a religious marriage.”
However, following an outcry from Italy’s left-wing opposition which saw politicians claim the proposal as unconstitutional due to Italy’s separation of church and state, Lega lawmakers were forced to amend the proposed legislation to include all weddings—religious and secular.
It remains unclear whether Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza will support the bill. According to reports, sources close to the prime minister said that the parliamentary initiative is not currently being looked at by the government.
According to the Italian press, a source close to the prime minister said: “Within a complex financial framework, the executive branch is working to support the family with concrete and feasible measures, which will be contained in the budget law.”
Defense Minister Guido Cosetto (FdI) also chimed in on the issue, saying: “The wedding bonus is not part of the [government’s plan]. It is the proposal submitted by an MP. It never crossed the mind of Palazzo Chigi to give a bonus to those who get married in a church, it is not an issue of interest to a secular state.”