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Italy's Supreme Court says gays can have custody of children

Challenge on rights of mother living with another woman rejected

11 January, 18:28
Italy's Supreme Court says gays can have custody of children (ANSA) - Rome, January 11 - Italy's supreme Court of Cassation ruled on Friday that there is no reason why gay people cannot have custody of children.

The Cassation, whose decisions set precedents, gave the ruling in rejecting a challenge from a man against another court's decision to give exclusive custody of a child to his former partner.

His challenge was based on the fact that his ex-partner had gone to live with a female social worker who helped the woman get off drugs at a rehabilitation centre. The man, a migrant living in Brescia of Muslim faith, argued that it was damaging for the child to grow up in a gay environment.

The Cassation said the challenge was not based on "scientific certainty or data from experience", but on "the mere prejudice that growing up with gay parents damages the balanced development of the child, taking for granted what has yet to be proven: that such family environments are damaging".

Gay rights groups hailed the ruling as a major breakthrough and some said it had implications for the issue of whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt children.

Some centre-right politicians criticising the decision as "dangerous", saying the court had overstepped the mark with the reasons given for its decision, arguing that such considerations are the prerogative of parliament.