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Italian Mayors Defy Order to Desist In Registering Gay Marriages

Italian Mayors Defy Order to Desist In Registering Gay Marriages

A number of Italian mayors have vowed to defy an order from the interior ministry, banning gay marriages conducted abroad from being registered in Italy. The order came from Angelino Alfano, the interior minister on Tuesday, but mayors across the country almost immediately spoke out in defiance, The Local has reported.

“The marriage of people of the same sex is not possible in Italy, so these marriages cannot be recorded in Italian registries… for the simple reason that the law doesn’t allow it,” said Alfano, who is also leader of the New-Centre Right party, which split from The People of Freedom party last year.

He also told reporters that he had issued a circular to municipalities ordering them to cancel any records for gay couples immediately, or he would do so personally.

“If they want to cancel (them), let them, but not in the name of Bologna. I will not obey,” said Virginio Merola, Mayor of the northern city. “To send out a circular on questions that concern the daily life of so many people is not only bureaucratic but tragicomic,” he added. The mayor, a member of the centre-left Democratic Party, has allowed registration for gay couples married abroad since mid-September.

His Roman counterpart, Luigi Nieri was equally defiant. “Angelino Alfano can’t manage to concentrate on preventing crime, on security, on fighting the mafia – in short on the duties of the interior minister. He has other priorities, but I will fight for the transcription of homosexual marriages in Rome,” he said.

“A question such as this will not be resolved with bureaucratic circulars, but must be taken to parliament or before the Constitutional Court,” said Udine’s mayor Furio Honsell.

Trieste, Naples and Florence also recognise gay marriages from other jurisdictions. In Naples, consumer group Codacons appealed to human rights legislation, saying the circular was “illegitimate” because it “clearly violates the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on free unions.”

However, not every mayor was critical. Amongst those to speak up in favour was Umberto Di Primio, mayor of Chieti, who said Alfano had “made the right decision”. 

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