The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned Italy’s official position against gay marriage and ordered the Italian government to introduce legal recognition for same-sex couples.
ECHR announced today that the unsatisfactory state of the relevant domestic law on the recognition of same-sex unions, is displaying Italy’s prolonged failure to implement a constitutionally recognised fundamental right in an effective manner.
The same-sex marriage case was transferred to the ECHR as six Italian citizens complained that the Italian legislation did not allow them to get married or enter into any other type of civil union and thus they were being discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation.
According to the Italian news agency, ANSA, neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions between same-sex partners are legally recognised in Italy. However, in some cities, including Rome, there is a civil union register. Still, as ECHR emphasises, Italian domestic law does not provide for any alternative union to marriage, either for homosexual couples or for heterosexual ones.
The decision of the court, will force the Italian government to regulate in favour gay marriage. The Telegraph reported on May, that after Ireland’s historic vote in favour of same sex marriage, Italy was under pressure to recognise same-sex marriages.
The process for the adoption of laws enabling a same-sex civil union, has started in Italy even before ECHR decision. On 10 June, Italy’s Lower House approved a motion on same-sex civil unions promoted by the Democratic Party (PD). According to ANSA, the motion commits the government “to promote the adoption of a law on civil unions, particularly with regard to the condition of the people of same sex.” It also commits the Italian authorities “to ensure equal treatment throughout the nation” of civil unions.
Premier Matteo Renzi and Justice Minister Andrea Orlando have both said recently that Italy needs a civil unions law.