Cities defy Italian minister's moves against gay marriage registry

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano (left) on Tuesday said he would put a stop to the registration of gay marriages contracted abroad, prompting several city halls to vow disobedience. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano (left) on Tuesday said he would put a stop to the registration of gay marriages contracted abroad, prompting several city halls to vow disobedience. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Tuesday said he would put a stop to the registration of gay marriages contracted abroad, prompting several city halls to vow disobedience.

"The marriage of people of the same sex is not possible in Italy," the centre-right minister said. "So these marriages cannot be recorded in Italian registries... for the simple reason that the law doesn't allow it."

He said he had circulated orders to municipalities across the country to "cancel" the records, or he would do so personally.

The response was swift from several city halls that recognise gay couples who married abroad.

"If they want to cancel (them), let them, but not in the name of Bologna," said the northern city's mayor, Virginio Merola. "I will not obey."

"To send out a circular on questions that concern the daily life of so many people is not only bureaucratic but tragicomic," said the mayor, a member of the centre-left Democratic Party who has allowed the transcriptions since mid-September.

In Rome, deputy mayor Luigi Nieri commented: "Angelino Alfano can't manage to concentrate on preventing crime, on security, on fighting the mafia - in short on the duties of the interior minister. He has other priorities, but I will fight for the transcription of homosexual marriages in Rome."

Similar reactions came from the cities of Udine and Naples, while the consumer group Codacons dismissed the step as "illegitimate" because it "clearly violates the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on free unions."

Trieste and Florence are among other Italian cities that recognise same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.