Italy’s highest court has rejected an appeal by three same-sex couples to have their marriage applications legalised.
The country’s Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that the arguments offered in the applications were “not admissible” and “unfounded”.
The predominately Roman Catholic country is one of the few Western European nations that does not recognise any type of same-sex unions or committed same-sex relationships.
A number of municipalities and cities in Italy have introduced civil union registries which recognise same-sex couples, but these are largely symbolic and have limited benefits.
Attempts by the Government of Romano Prodi in 2007 to introduce civil partnership legislation failed due to lack of support in parliament.
The reasons behind the judge’s decision were not immediately clear, but are expected to be published by the court in the coming days.
A 2007 poll found that 45% of Italians supported legalising same-sex civil partnerships, with 47% opposing the move and 8% saying they were unsure.