But it's not an automatic right for a same-sex partners to adopt each other's children - decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Sarah Norton

24 Jun 2016 - 12:54 PM  UPDATED 21 Sep 2016 - 2:02 PM

Italy’s high court has made it easier for people in same-sex relationships to adopt their partner’s biological children, but it's still not a guaranteed right.

The Cassation Court's decision on Wednesday supports the lower courts' ruling around the issue of "step-child adoption".

This new verdict comes a month after Italy ruled in favour of same-sex civil unions. In order to get the bill for same-sex unions passed, Italy's high court removed adoption rights after fierce opposition from the Catholic Church.

A civil unions bill was passed after the European Court of Human Rights criticised Italy for not protecting the recognition of gay couples. The Court ruled that Italy needed to do something to protect the rights of same-sex couples. Thus, civil unions were passed and adoption laws were eliminated as a compromise.


Fontana Di Trevi illuminated with rainbow colors of the LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate the approval of the law on civil unions.

While the new adoption rules make it easier for same-sex couples to adopt their partner's biological children, it does not make it an automatic right, even if the couple is together from the birth of the child. Earlier this year, a lesbian couple won their adoption court case when a woman was allowed to adopt her partner’s biological daughter.

While the new ruling from the Cassation Court has been welcomed by many in the LGBTQIA+ community, others have criticised the high court for not pushing the law further.

Famiglie Arcobaleno (Rainbow Families) said that the law was a "step forward," but noted that "it falls short of its goal of having immediate recognition at birth of both parents in same-sex unions," reports ABC News.

It has angered anti-gay Catholic lobby groups in the country and created tension between the lobbyists and the LGTBQ+ community, with rallies and protests taking place in Italy.

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