In a rather unprecedented move, Italy has ruled that a trans woman and cis man are allowed to marry.
In a landmark ruling, the Court of Appeal of Milan agreed to recognise a marriage contracted between a man and a trans woman in Argentina, which was made back in 2011.
When the couple were married, they were both still legally male, but that has since changed. A year later one of them was reassigned legally as female.
This meant that the Court of Appeal of Milan actually moved to overturn a previous refusal to register the marriage, and the family section of the court declared that it was in confirmity with “the heterosexual paradigm”. They then argued that since one half of the couple is now a woman, it makes no sense to focus on her past identity.
The judges made a statement, saying: “This woman’s marriage contract with an Italian citizen must be considered in every respect, including that of Italian law, identical to a marriage contracted between persons of opposite gender. It does not contradict public policy – and it gives rise to exactly the same legal rights and outcomes as any other marriage.”
At first glance, this might seem a bit of a strange move from a country where same-sex marriage is unlawful, but that isn’t all there is to that story. Italian judges have shown themselves be more significantly more progressive on this issue.
Just one example of this is when, back in 2013, a court in Reggio Emilia overturned a decision made by the immigration authorities to remove a Brazilian national because apparently, their marriage to an Italian citizen was invalidated due to a “change of gender”.
The court also made an interesting statement in April of this year, saying that while they did not wish to “invade the legislative competence of the Parliament”, but they did state that “until the legislature intervenes, and the Court has paved the way for such intervention, the national court must interpret on a case by case basis.”
So while Italy’s stance on same-sex marriage has not yet changed, this does at least open up the possibility for it to change and could possibly even be a sign that change is already on it’s way.