An Italian court has granted a lesbian couple in Rome adoption rights, which were last week controversially excluded in a draft law on same-sex partnerships, gay rights associations said Tuesday.
The ruling concerned two women who each gave birth to a daughter and wanted to mutually adopt their partner's offspring, activist groups Famiglie Arcobaleno and Rete Lenford said in a joint statement.
Similar verdicts on so-called stepchild adoptions have been reached before, but it was the first time that two members of a same-sex household were allowed by a magistrate to simultaneously adopt each other's children, the associations said.
The verdict suggested that in the absence of national legislation, stepchild adoptions by gay parents are set to be authorized on a case-by-case basis by the judiciary.
Rete Lenford President Maria Grazia Sangalli said this was a suboptimal situation because even after a favourable ruling adopted children within a gay household enjoy limited family rights.
For example, the two girls concerned in Tuesday's decision each gained a second, legally recognized mother. But in the eyes of the law, they will not become sisters nor will they be related with the families of their adopting parent.
Stepchild adoptions are fully recognized in Italy only for heterosexual couples.
Last week, clauses extending such rights to same-sex partnerships were scrapped at the last minute from a historic law giving legal recognition to gay unions. Italy is the only country in Western Europe lacking such legislation.
The compromise angered gay rights groups, but Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said it was necessary to convince centrists in the ruling majority to back the reform, which still needs to be approved by the lower house of parliament.
Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) promised to return to the issue with a future law on adoptions, concerning both homosexual and heterosexual couples, which is likely to be strongly resisted by the Catholic Church and conservatives.