The same-sex couple’s lawyer, Claudio Pezzi, said the ruling represented “another important step in the struggle to affirm the rights of minors and homosexual couples in our country, reaffirming, among other things, the important principle of opening up our system to an international dimension.”
The women have two children conceived through artificial insemination, and are each the biological parent of one child and the adoptive parent of the other.
The adoptions had already been approved by an Oregon court in 2004, but the couple ran into problems in 2013 when they relocated their family to the northern region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy, the ancestral home of one of the women, and applied to have their American documentation transferred.
The municipality rejected their application on the grounds that Italian law did not at the time recognise stepchild adoption by same-sex couples. The case, which was also reviewed by Italy’s Constitutional Court, had been ongoing since 2014.
In 2016 Italy passed the Cirinnà bill which granted same-sex partners similar rights to those held by married couples, but the bill faced huge push back from religious groups and ultimately stopped short of allowing same-sex adoption, even in cases where the other member of the couple was the child’s biological parent.
It was not until 2017 that an Italian court first ruled that the non-biological parent of a child raised by a same-sex couple could be legally recognized as the parent of their children.
In their ruling the Court of Appeals judges explained that the women’s parenting skills were not in question and that the decision was in the children’s best interests.