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Same-sex marriage suits rejected

Issue up to parliament, Constitutional Court says

14 April, 13:57
Same-sex marriage suits rejected (ANSA) - Rome, April 14 - Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday rejected suits by several northern Italian gay couples who had challenged Italian law preventing gay marriages.

Sources said the written ruling, which will be made public in the next few weeks, will stress the court is not competent in the issue and parliament alone can lift Italy's gay-marriage ban.

In the meantime a statement from the court said the suits which gave rise to the case were "inadmissible and unfounded". The issue was brought to the attention of the Constitutional Court through a suit filed by a number of gay couples in Venice and Trento who were not allowed to post the banns of their upcoming 'marriage'.

According to the suit, there is nothing in Italy's legal code which prohibits same-sex marriage because the diversity of gender is not established as a requisite for marriage.

The plaintiffs argued in their suit that a ban on same-sex marriage violated the Constitutional principle of equality between citizens and ran counter to European Union law as well.

They also noted that an "unreasonable inequality in treatment" existed in regard to homosexuals and trans-sexuals given that the latter, once they have had a sex-change operation, are allowed to marry members of their original sex.

The office of the state attorney, acting on behalf of the government, argued the suit was inadmissible because it sought to establish a legal precedent "through the manipulation of the fabric of the law" whereas only parliament can create laws.

The attorney also said that European and international law clearly gave national legislatures jurisdiction in governing the rules of marriage.

Gay marriage is legal in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal while several European countries including France, Germany, Britain, Switzerland and Hungary recognise civil unions.

Canada and five eastern US states alsom authorise gays to wed.

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