Court recognises gay male couple as adoptive fathers in landmark ruling

An Italian court has recognised two gay men as the fathers of two children they adopted who are not biologically related to either of them, it was reported on Thursday.

The couple's two sons were both granted Italian citizenship under the groundbreaking ruling by a court in Florence, which was hailed on Thursday by the men's lawyer as a triumph for LGBT rights.

Susanna Lollini of LGBT law firm Rete Lenford said decision was "undeniably a huge satisfaction from a personal and professional point of view, but even more so from a human point of view."

The Florence court's ruling on Wednesday is also the first in which Italy has officially recognised an adoption in a different country by a gay couple.

The men are Italian citizens but lived in the UK for several years, where they adopted their two sons and are now residents in Tuscany.

The Florence court said recognition of the British ruling that allowed the couple to adopt the boys was "in the interests of the minors, who live in a stable family, have positive family and friendship relations and perform all the activities of their age".

Gay adoptions are currently being decided on a case-by-case basis after a so-called 'step-child adoption' clause was dropped from legislation allowing civil unions for same-sex couples passed in May last year.

In another landmark ruling in February, an Italian court ruled that a child had two fathers when a gay couple were both recognised as the parents of a boy born to a surrogate mother in America who was impregnated with one of the men's sperm.

Earlier cases have seen gay women allowed to adopt their partners' biological children.

In August 2014, a Rome resident who whose partner gave birth after fertility treatment abroad was allowed to adopt her daughter.