The mayor of Bologna has paved the way for gay couples to have their foreign marriages registered in the city, the latest step in a growing movement for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Italy.
Bologna Mayor Virginio Merola announced Tuesday that same-sex marriages performed outside of Italy will be recorded in the city’s civil register.
The recognition will only be symbolic, as marriage is defined under national laws in Italy, however from 15 September when the change goes into effect, gay and lesbian couples in the city will be able to register their marriages.
The Italian Government has the legal authority to block the city from doing so, but it has not yet stepped in to stop other Italian cities from recording same-sex marriages and civil unions, and Naples began recording the same-sex marriages of its residents earlier this month without intervention from the government.
For couples to have their marriages registered both must be residents of Bologna – a more conservative approach compared to Naples where only one of the spouses must be a resident of the city.
Bologna-based Cassero LGBT Center told The Local that 15 September would be ‘a day of celebration, for some couples in particular, but also for the whole city.’
‘Even though the urgent need for a national law on same-sex marriage rests at the first stage, this recognition opens new possibilities for the relationship between the administration and those couples,’ the group said in a statement.
Same-sex marriage has not yet received majority support in Italy where the Catholic Church remains very influential.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has promised civil partnerships for same-sex couples but his government is yet to move forward with the proposal.