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Italy: Gay Family Rights Ruling

(Mar. 19, 2012) On March 15, 2012, Italy's Supreme Court (Corte Suprema di Cassazione) determined that a gay couple who married outside of Italy could not be considered legally wed in Italy, but did have a “right to a family life.” (Italian Supreme Court Rules on Gay-Family Rights, LIFE IN ITALY (Mar. 15, 2012); Italy Court Rules Gays Have Right to “Family Life,”FRANCE24 (Mar. 15, 2012).)

Gay rights activists hailed the ruling as a step toward ending the ban on same-sex marriage in the country. Fabrizio Marrazzo, from the group Gay Center, called the decision important and described it as saying “that gay couples must also enjoy the same legal rights as any heterosexual couple. The words are clear and sharp. Parliament and the government must give an answer.” (Italian Supreme Court Rules on Gay-Family Rights, supra.)

The case had been brought by two men who married in The Hague in 2002; when they attempted to register the relationship in the small town near Rome in which they live, they were denied registration by the town council. The Supreme Court ruling did not overturn that council decision. (Italy Court Rules Gays Have Right to “Family Life,” supra.)

Italy's Constitutional Court (Corte Costituzionale) ruled in April 2010 that arguments in favor of same-sex marriage were “unfounded” or “inadmissible.” (Italy's Top Court Rejects Gay Marriage, NEWS.COM.AU (Apr. 15, 2010).)