Italy breaches rights over gay marriage – European court

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Italy violates human rights by failing to offer enough legal protection for same-sex couples, a European court has ruled.

Judges said the government had breached the rights of three gay couples by refusing them marriage or any other recognised form of union.

Italy is the only major Western European country with no civil partnerships or gay marriage.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has long promised to pass a law on civil unions.

By failing to introduce new legislation, his government failed to “provide for the core needs relevant to a couple in a stable committed relationship,” the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday.

The court said Italy was in breach of Article 8 – the right to respect for private and family life – of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A small number of municipalities in Italy allow local civil unions, but there is a national ban on same-sex marriage and the benefits of the existing provision are limited.

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