Marino may take gay marriage to EU court

Says city hall lawyers studying juridical aspects

(ANSA) - Rome, October 22 - The mayor of Rome said he would respond "when I know the cards" when asked Thursday whether he planned to take controversial gay marriage issue to the European Court of Human Rights.
    "In this moment, the legal office of city hall is studying the juridical aspects, but what counts more for me as mayor are the aspects my community's life," Ignazio Marino added, speaking from the margins of a school inauguration in Rome. Marino walked into contested, administrative no-man's land earlier this week when he transcribed 16 same-sex marriages legally performed abroad at the Rome prefecture.
    Marino made the move in defiance of a mandate issued by Interior Minister Angelino Alfano banning the official acknowledgement by city mayors in prefectures across the country.
    In Italy, civil unions between same-sex partners are not yet nationally recognized, much less marriage, which is defined as a union between a man and a woman. However the recognition of same-sex marriages performed abroad, especially in countries with which Italy is bound by treaties, the question is subject to debate.
    "Certainly, I performed an act that is not revolutionary, but a transcription of documents that were written in other countries of the European Community or in North America. The prefect is responding to an invitation by the interior minister," said Marino. Roman Prefect Giuseppe Pecoraro on Tuesday formally "invited" Marino to withdraw the gay marriage transcriptions to "avoid irregularities on the civil status registry" and explained that the prefecture would have to impose state norms in the case. Pecoraro and Marino shook hands Tuesday as it was generally acknowledged that the validity of the transcriptions would undergo formal scrutiny if Marino did not withdraw them.
    Marino in his defiance of the interior minister joins a number of mayors across Italy, including those of Milan, Bologna, Udine and Grosseto. He has received support from gay activists and lawyers of couples whose marriages were transcribed, but the Catholic political movement Italia Cristiana on Tuesday registered a formal complaint against Marino for contravening State law. The movement also called for the centre-left politician to be removed from his post.
    "Transcribe gay marriages? No, it's a farce because it doesn't mean anything," said Giovanni Toti, a centre-right EMP for the Forza Italia party and political advisor to ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi. "Marino is doing a political maneuver with couples that lend themselves to it. Like Alfano, who is playing with the skins of people who are waiting for a law, however," added Toti, speaking to the Radio 24 programme Zanzara (mosquito). "We're waiting for text, but I am in favour of a law on civil unions," said Toti.
    Premier Matteo Renzi has announced that a bill regarding same-sex unions and family rights will be presented by the end of October.


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