The Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) has ruled on April 21, 2015 that imposing divorce on a married couple as a consequence of legal gender recognition of one of the partners is unconstitutional.

Read the decision (in Italian) here.

The Constitutional Court had to decide whether granting legal gender recognition automatically entails the dissolution of an existing marriage. Initially, the Constitutional Court had found that it was unconstitutional to request a divorce, as long as there is no equivalent institution to a marriage guaranteeing substantially the same rights to the spouses. Only the Italian Parliament has the power to introduce such an institution. However, the Court had initially also ruled that same-gender marriages are not recognized and cannot exist under Italian constitutional law. This later part of the ruling was not considered to prevail by the Court of Cassation, so that legal gender recognition can take place with the spouses staying married as long as an alternative form of recognition of the couple’s relationship is introduced.