Press release

Italy’s Supreme Court recognizes foreign same-gender marriage as such

In July 2015 the Court of Appeal of Naples ordered the registration of the French marriage by Giuseppina La Delfa and Raphaëlle Hoedts, two French women with Ms La Delfa holding also Italian citizenship. The Court found the mayor of Santo Stefano del Sole unlawfully denied its recognition. This led to a claim before the Court of Cassation, Italy’s Supreme Court in civil matters. With judgment no. 2487 of 31 January 2017 the Court rejected the action against the decision and ordered the Administration to pay the legal fees of the couple (€ 6 128).

The Court, after keeping the decision on hold for almost seven months, eventually dismissed the claim on procedural grounds, thereby making the order to register the marriage final and irrevocable.

Ms La Delfa, a NELFA board member, and her wife Raphaëlle show great satisfaction for the outcome: ‘After years of costly and stressing battles in court, we finally are acknowledged for what we already are in France: a loving family based on marriage. It is disappointing that such recognition is denied to Italian-only couples, but we strongly hope that this decision will pave the way to full equality and dignity in Italy’.

This is the first decision granting full recognition to a foreign same-gender marriage’ says Dr. Alexander Schuster, the lawyer of the couple. ‘The Naples Court relied on EU free movement provisions and on the respect to be paid to those foreign countries that grant full equality to their citizens. The Court noted that Italy could not abridge these rights just because Parliament was (at least then) indolent vis-à-vis its own citizens’, Schuster adds.

Giuseppe di Meo, a lawyer based in Avellino, was co-counsel.

The decision of the Naples Court is available here (in Italian).

The judgment (in Italian) will become soon available on the law firm’s website: News concerning the struggle for equality by the La Delfa-Hoedts family here.

Trento, 1st February 2017.