An Italian judge in the city of Bologna has granted a gay male couple temporary custody of a three-year-old girl.
Judge Giuseppe Spadaro concluded that the men are a “stable and reliable” family. This is the first case in Italy in which an LGBT couple has been given legal guardianship over a child to whom neither is biologically related.
Local prosecutor Ugo Pastore vowed to launch an appeal, claiming that the couple, while both gainfully employed, lacks the ability to care for the child.
Italian law requires that a couple be married in order to adopt. Since marriage there is still defined as a union between a man and a woman, it presents a problem for gay and lesbian couples looking to start a family.
However, while gay couples are not legally allowed to adopt, they can temporarily care for a foster child, which served as the basis for Spadaro’s decision.
Senator Carlo Giovanardi said Spadaro’s choice is “contempt[uous]for the rights of the child.”
“Italian law permits adoption only to married couples,” Giovanardi told Italian news site Tempi.it. “No legislator could imagine that the inventiveness of the courts might get to the point of suggesting that a minor can be entrusted to a gay couple.”
Many other European countries have embraced same-sex marriage, but in Italy, a predominantly Catholic country, LGBT people still face numerous legal hurdles. While homosexuality is not against the law, same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections as straight couples, and 59 percent of Italians oppose same-sex marriage.