The court Friday rejected a claim by a Muslim man in Brescia that his child was being damaged because his former partner is now living with a woman, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. The court called the belief that being brought up by a gay couple is damaging to children "mere prejudice."
Flavio Romani, president of the group Arcigay, called it a "historic ruling" and said it will allow future governments to enact laws allowing same-sex marriage.
"The Cassation Court today reaffirmed what we've been saying for a long time," Romani said. "Love is what makes children grow, and not the sexual orientation of their parents."
Giancarlo Galan, a former Veneto governor and member of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party, commended the ruling, calling it a "significant step forward for civil rights." He said Italy is a secular state that should "listen to its citizens and no one else."
Sen. Ignazio Marini, a member of the Democratic Party, said gays should have the same rights as heterosexuals.
The Rev. Domenico Sigalini, a Catholic priest speaking for the Italian Episcopal Conference, said courts should not decide on family matters.
"You can't build a civilization through court rulings," he told ANSA. "If most people have the sense to object to adoptions by gay couples, it's because they know intuitively that the child will have difficulties in a family made up of two parents who are both women or both men."