Italy condemned by European Court of Human Rights for lack of legal recognition for same-sex couples

Three homosexual couples filed a complaint in 2011 before the European Court of Human Rights on the impossibility of legal recognition for same-sex relationships under Italian legislation.

In its landmark judgement [1] of the 21 July 2015, the Court unanimously found that there was a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Not only do the partnerships formed by cohabitating same-sex couples fall under the notion of “family life” but are equally in need of legal recognition and protection, which Italy does not currently afford. The judgement states that Italy should introduce, at the very least, the option of a civil union or registered partnership for same-sex couples to have their relationship legally recognized. This is the first time the ECtHR affirms the right of same-sex unions to be legally recognised.

FIDH, along with partner and member associations [2], intervened as third parties and submitted their observations. FIDH welcomes the ECHtR’s decision and urges the Italian government to swiftly implement it by adopting a long-awaited partnership bill. The judgement should also prompt legal recognition of same-sex unions in the 22 other Council of Europe countries which still do not recognise same sex-unions.

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