ITALY: High Court Orders Mayors To Remove Foreign Same-Sex Marriages From City Registries

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano has won a battle before Italy’s highest administrative court which will force mayors to remove foreign same-sex marriages from city registries. Last year Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino defied Italian law by registering 16 marriages conducted abroad and his action was followed by several other mayors. The Gazzetta del Sud reports:

“Last year my circular banning the transcription of gay marriages contracted abroad drew controversy, sometimes even violent aggression and a hail of appeals. Now the Council of State has borne me out entirely: marriage between two people of the same sex is not contemplated under Italian law, therefore the transcriptions made by local mayors are illegal and monitoring is the competence of the prefect. Very good,” Alfano said.

The ruling, which overturned an earlier verdict by the Lazio regional administrative tribunal (TAR) that transcriptions in civil registers of gay marriages contracted abroad could only be annulled by court order, was a blow to gay rights campaigners tired of waiting for lawmakers to give same-sex couples some form of legal recognition in Italy. Senator and foreign ministry undersecretary Benedetto Della Vedova described the ruling as “a victory for none and a defeat for all”. “It is the defeat of a country that remains at the starting post as regards gay rights, which urgently need to be regulated,” he said.

Alfano is the head of Italy’s New Centre-Right Party. A protege of notorious anti-gay former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, in 2002 Alfano was caught up in scandal after video surfaced of him being greeted warmly by mafia boss Croce Napoli at the wedding of Napoli’s daughter.

RELATED: Two weeks ago Italy’s long-awaited civil unions bill was introduced in the upper chamber of the national legislature. The bill is expected to pass easily IF it gets past parliamentary roadblocks and actually gets to a vote.