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Italy high court recognizes right of same-sex couples to have 'family life'

The Italian Supreme Court [official website, in Italian] on Friday recognized same-sex couple's right to have a family life after it denied a same-sex couple's right to have their foreign marriage recognized in the country. The ruling is expected to force the country's government officials to reconsider Italy's ban on same-sex marriage [UPI report]. The ban on same sex-marriage has been controversial, but a 2010 attempt to overturn it was unsuccessful. After hearing arguments from same-sex couples, Italy's Constitutional Court upheld the ban [JURIST report]. 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.

Italy is not the only European country that has been in the news regarding same sex-marriage. In June 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled 4-3 that the European Convention on Human Rights does not mandate that member states recognize same-sex marriages [JURIST report]. Also in June 2010, the Icelandic Althingi unanimously passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage [JURIST report]. In May 2010, Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva signed a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage [JURIST report] but stops short of allowing same-sex couples to adopt. The bill was approved by the Portuguese Parliament in January and found to be constitutional by the Constitutional Court.

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