Italian high court makes gay adoption easier, not automatic

Italy's highest court has made it easier for gays to adopt a partner's biological child but the decision does not give long-sought automatic recognition to the families of same-sex couples.

A Cassation Court ruling on Wednesday confirmed a lower-court decision permitting the so-called "step-child" adoption in cases where the family bond is well-established. The gay rights group Famiglie Arcobaleno (Rainbow Families) called the decision a step forward but said it falls short of its goal of having immediate recognition at birth of both parents in same-sex unions.

Italy earlier this year became the last holdout in Western Europe to legally recognize civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, but only after sacrificing a hotly contested provision to allow gay adoption.