Reflecting San Francisco Values


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On Scene With Bill Wilson: Rome


The Rome Civil Union certificate of William Francis Wilson and Fernando Proietti Orlandi

1. Registered as Domestic Partners San Francisco. 1991

2. Registered as Domestic Partners Washington, D.C.

3. Registered with State of California as DP – no rights.1998

4. Registered with State of California as DP with full rights. 2004

5. Married February 12, 2004 –ruled “null and void” by CA Supreme Court.

6. Married June 18, 2008 – legally recognized by US Supreme Court 6/2014.

7. Entered in Civil Union Registry of Rome, Italy May 21, 2015

This is the paper trail Fernando and I have established over the years. The joke has become, “We’ve been married as many times as Elizabeth Taylor, just to the same person!”


Fernando and Bill on the steps to a civil union in Rome.

Our latest excursion took us to Rome. With four witnesses in tow we gathered at Rome’s Campidoglio, a plaza redesigned by Michelangelo. As we ascended a long and grand staircase, we were besieged by media. Not the first time we’ve dealt with media, just the first time in Italian so Fernando got to respond to the questions.


Sala Protomoteca – the room were the ceremonies took place.

Once they started letting people entered the room where the ceremonies were to take place the room quickly filled up with media and guests of the couples. In Italy the symbol of authority is a tricolor sash. When the Mayor can’t be present the person he designates to act in his stead wears it. On May 21 the person wearing the tricolor sash was Alessandra Cattoi, Assessore alle Pari Opportunita (Assessor of Equal Opportunity for the City of Rome)


Alessandra Cattoi, Rome’s Equal Opportunity Assessor

There was every type of family represented by the couples who registered. There were straight couples, straight couples with children, lesbian couples, lesbian couples with children, gay couples, and gay couples with children. There were probably b and t couples as well, it just wasn’t noted in the press release and I had no way of asking.


Gay couple listens to the person who presides over their civil union.

It took over two hours to get through the 17 couples that were registered because the process is a little different than in the United States. Each couple had a ceremony that was presided over by the equivalent of our City Supervisors. Of course each politician had to speak to the importance of the day. I wish I could relate the eloquence of the speakers but there was no English translation for the remarks (nor should there have been. I should know Italian by now.)


Fernando (in blue pants) and Bill wait for their turn to register their Civil Union.

Once they got to us the process went rather quickly because we already had been married so are ceremony consisted of brief remarks and verification that we were the people listed in the records. Then we went over and paid for our certificate and were done.


The finished paper work.

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