Major Victory for LGBT Couples In Italy

By Jennifer Memmolo

Human rights advocates scored a major victory across the pond yesterday when the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) declared that, by failing to recognize the legality of same-sex relationships, Italy is guilty of a major human rights violation.

The lawsuit was filed when three male same-sex couples sued the country for civil-union protections. The court has ordered Italy to pay each of the men 5,000 euros in addition to their legal expenses — and, as a result of this case, Italy may soon be required to join the rest of the European Union in legally recognizing same-sex unions with the same protections provided to heterosexual couples.

While most of western Europe is quite progressive when it comes to granting LGBT couples legal status, Italy has not. In June, thousands of people marched against the legalization of same-sex unions in Rome.

Despite this, thousands more are in favor of some serious change when it comes to granting LGBT couples legal rights. Now that the ECtHR has ruled against existing Italian law, policy change is likely, especially when the alternative is a constant stream of payouts from the Italian governments for violations.

Here's hoping lawmakers use this as an opportunity to show same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Natasha Kramskaya