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Italy high court upholds same-sex marriage ban

[JURIST] Italy's Constitutional Court [official website, in Italian] on Wednesday rejected [press release, DOC; in Italian] a challenge to the constitutionality of the country's ban on same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. After hearing arguments from several same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses, courts in Trento and Venice asked the high court to resolve [Corriere del Veneto report, in Italian] whether provisions in the Italian Civil Code [text, in Italian] banning same-sex marriage conflict with Articles 2 and 117 of the Italian Constitution [text, PDF]. Following a closed session Wednesday morning, the court issued a brief statement declaring the question ineligible with regard to Articles 2 and 117 and unfounded with relation to Articles 3 and 29. The court is expected to issue a detailed judgment soon.

In 2007, Italy's Cabinet approved a controversial proposal [JURIST report] to grant a number of legal rights to unmarried couples, including those of the same sex. The proposal, harshly criticized by the country's justice minister and bishop [JURIST reports], ultimately failed. Italy is one of few Western European nations that does not offer legal recognition to same-sex couples. Most recently, the Portugese Parliament legalized same-sex marriage [JURIST report] in January. Prior to that, the Swedish Parliament enacted similar legislation [JURIST report] in April 2009.

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