The couple had given a press conference at 3pm the day before in Piazza Montecitorio in Rome, outside the seat of the Italian lower house, to explain the reason for their hunger strike: so that they are finally allowed to get married and so are all the Italian gay couples who wish to do so. Mr. Zanardi became painfully aware of his need to have his union officially recognized by the state, when he got subjected to a violent homophobic attack in September 2009 on the Greek island of Mykonos (in cases of hospitalization or death of a partner, the implications with regards to hospital visit rights, insurance, tenancy rights, inheritance, pension benefits are numerous).
The couple’s initiative is endorsed by an Italian lgbt organization called Certi Diritti and a few other lgbt activists, including transexual ex-parliamentarian Vladimir Luxuria and ex parliamentarian Franco Grillini.
Francesco Zanardi’s website, www.gayitaliani. eu (the site is in Italian), features a list of people who are allegedly also taking part in the hunger strike. Francesco and his partner have also stated they would broadcast themselves live on webcam.