The highest administrative court in Italy has upheld the government position on gay marriage, ensuring the country is the last major western European nation to not recognise the redefinition.
Although gay marriage and same sex civil unions are illegal in Italy, thanks to a previous court ruling some more liberal cities including Rome and Naples have been registering their own gay marriages. This arrangement allowed gay couples to travel abroad to get married and then have their unions officially recognised on their return.
The left-wing mayor of Rome recognised 16 foreign gay marriages in October 2014, a move that was met with condemnation by the Catholic church, reports TheLocal.it.
This week’s ruling has now closed this loophole, with Italian citizens having gay marriages abroad losing legal recognition at home, if they ever had it in the first place.
Angelino Alfano, Italian minister of the Interior who has been pushing for Italian law to remain the same and not move with its neighbouring liberal nations to recognise the redefinition of marriage said of the ruling, and the unilateral moves of particular cities to circumvent the government: “Let us be clear. Marriage between two people of the same sex is not contemplated under Italian law, therefore the transcriptions made by local mayors are illegal”.
The recognition, or not, of gay marriage in Italy is a long running dispute that splits the political parties forming the ruling grand coalition. Centre-left prime minister Matteo Renzi has vowed to introduce civil partnerships for homosexual marriages by the end of the year, a process that got under way as the parliament started debating his bill earlier this month.
The move will continue to meet stiff resistance from conservative politicians such as Mr. Alfano and the Catholic church. Traditionalists in the country will look nervously to Catholic Republic of Ireland, which voted to accept gay marriage in a referendum earlier this year, bowing to international liberal pressure to do so.
The referendum was carried with 60 per cent of the vote, remarkably low considering the global support the Irish gay lobby had. Fearghas Obeara, former policy advisor to the president of the European Parliament said of the enormous weight on Ireland to accept same sex marriage: “all the political parties, about 160 out of 166 members of parliament, all the media, all the major US multinationals, 90% of the funding was on the Yes side, it is extraordinary, and something approaching a miracle, that 40% of the voters had the courage to vote No”.