The acknowledgment, a first for Italy, involves two unidentified men, ages 68 and 57, from Grosetto, a city north of Rome in Tuscany. The two men were married in New York in 2012 in a civil ceremony.
Although they sought to record their marriage in the local registry, they were turned down until local judge Paolo Cesare Ottati upheld their appeal, noting the Italian civil code “contains no reference to sex in relation to the requisites” for marriage. Ottati added there is “no impediment to the registration of a marriage contracted abroad.”
Ottati called registration “constitutive but only confirmative” of something “already valid,” a phrase spokesman Fabrizio Marrazzo of Italy’s Gay Center called “a revolutionary event that deserves a positive response from politicians.”
Former president of Italy’s non-profit Arcigay support group and current Senator Sergio La Guidice called the Grosetto court’s action “a unique precedent for our country.”
The Italian Bishops Conference was less enthused, saying in a statement the ruling “raises serious questions” Thursday, and adding that any union other than that between a man and a woman was “dangerous” and “jumping the gun.”
The bishops said because of the ruling, “one of the fundamental pillars of the institution of marriage is likely to be swept away.