Italy court recognizes child born to gay couple for first time

Wed Jan 7, 2015 1:04pm EST
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ROME (Reuters) - An Italian court has for the first time recognized the legal status of a child born to a gay couple in a ruling, made public on Wednesday, that challenges the country's official stance on marriage only being between a man and a woman.

Italy, where the Roman Catholic church still has a great influence on politics, does not allow gay marriage or civil partnerships but in recent months some courts and town councils have begun to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages contracted abroad.

The appeals court in Turin ruled that the birth of the child, conceived by artificial insemination and born in Barcelona to a Spanish and Italian lesbian couple, should be transcribed into the official records of the town where the Italian woman lives.

The ruling gives Italian citizenship to the child, who was born in 2011, and means it can come to Italy to be with the mother, who is now divorced from her Spanish ex-wife.

Same sex marriage is legal in Spain and a Barcelona court gave joint custody to both women.

The Turin court's ruling, which was issued in October but only made public on Wednesday, overturned a 2013 verdict that the birth could not be legally recognized in Italy.

The appeals court said it was acting in the "exclusive interests of the child, who has been brought up by two women which the (Spanish) law each recognizes as its mother."

The names and places of residence of the people in the case were not made public due to the sensitivity of the issue in Italy.

(Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio, writing by Gavin Jones and Robin Pomeroy)