|Italy legalised gay civil unions in May 2015 (AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe)|
Rome (AFP) - Italy's highest court has allowed a lesbian to adopt the daughter of her partner in a landmark ruling a month after a law on gay civil unions was passed without any such provisions.
In a ruling greeted with delight by gay rights groups, the Court of Cassation said the interests of the child had to come first in any adoption case.
It would be "inadmissible to consider only the sexual orientation of the mother of the minor and of the applicant (to adopt)," a written ruling made public on Wednesday said.
"We dedicate this victory to the boys and girls that our parliament discriminated against and deemed to be invisible," Italy's leading rights group Arcigay said in reaction to the ruling.
"This ruling gives them back justice and dignity and tells parliament to take a serious look at its conscience," said spokesman Gabriele Piazzoni.
Italy legalised gay civil unions last month but provisions relating to adoption rights were stripped from the bill at the last minute in the face of fierce opposition orchestrated by the Catholic church.
The final text did not however rule out adoptions by gay step-parents being approved on a case-by-case basis, as they have been since 2014.
The Court of Cassation's ruling means family court judges will have less leeway than previously since any judgement that goes against the spirit of Wednesday's judgement will be subject to appeal.