Italian court orders recognition same-sex marriage conducted abroad

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

In a landmark judgement last week Wednesday, the Court of Appeal of Napels (Italy), ordered to register the marriage of two French women, including full recognition of the rights attached to marriage.Italy

The Court ruled that “there is no doubt that the failure [by Italy] to register the marriage of two French women, lawfully entered into in France … would  represent a violation of the exercise of the rights associated to their status as spouses.”

As grounds, the Court cited the right to move and reside in another member state (Article 21.1 TFEU) and the right to non-discrimination on the basis of nationality and sexual orientation (Article 18 TFEU).

The Court added that the absence of civil unions for Italian citizens is not a reason to refuse to recognize this for citizens with another nationality.

Currently, Italy has no form of recognition for same-sex couples, be it cohabitation rights, registered partnerships or marriage.

The Court made clear, however, that the recognition would not hold for an Italian couple that entered into a marriage or registered partnership abroad.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, reacted: “This judgment is a confirmation of what should be a clear and established fact: if you’re maried in one EU country, this marriage and the rights that come with it, should be recognized all across the EU.”

“Now that the courts have spoken, it is for politicians to take the next steps and make Italy the next EU country to introduce marriage for all.”

“Furthermore, we call on the Commission to clearly anchor the mutual recognition of civil status documents in EU law, to ensure that all partnered and married same-sex couples will have their rights recognised.”

Isabella Adinolfi MEP and Daniele Viotti MEP, Vice-President and Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights and Italian nationals: “While not ignoring the great advancement that this ruling means for the freedom of movement of same-sex couples from abroad, it also puts a spotlight on the total absence of recognition of Italian same-sex couples: they are denied the same rights that foreign married or partnered same-sex couples can enjoy in Italy.”

“This is a key moment for the Italian government to tackle this by finally introducing registered partnerships or equal marriage.”


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