Italian passion must stay indoors

When one thinks of landmark court decisions, cases such as Marbury v Madison, Brown v Board of Education, and Roe v Wade may come to mind. But landmark decisions are not the sole purview of the United States Supreme Court.

Last week, in a decision that stunned the legal community across the globe, Italy’s highest court - Rome's Court of Cassation - allowed a lower court’s ruling stand, and in doing so gravely limited one form of sexual expression.

In 2006, an Italian couple decided to engage in sex outdoors, an act which violates Italy’s laws prohibiting obscene acts in public. According to reports, the incident involved a 40-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man, who were subsequently charged.   

The couple was eventually convicted by a regional court. Many Italians disapproved of the verdict. Eventually, Italy’s highest court agreed to review the case, a sign which some believed indicated that the decision would be overturned.

In their defense, the couple had argued that Italy’s national soccer team was playing in the World Cup quarter-finals against the Ukraine in Germany. They said that as a result of the game, virtually all of the locals were indoors watching the match, leaving the couple alone and in virtual privacy while outside. With no apparent interest in the game, the couple fulfilled their fantasy of making love in the moonlight.

Instead, police were there to arrest them.

Many think of Italy as the country of love and romance. But unless the laws are changed moving forward, that lovemaking must remain indoors until further notice.