ROME (Reuters) - An Italian court has ruled the government must pay 100,000 euros ($157,700) in damages to a man who was told to retake a driving test because he was homosexual.
When 26 year-old Danilo Giuffrida told doctors he was gay at his medical examination for military service, they passed the information to the transport ministry, who told him he must repeat his driving test or have his license withdrawn due to his “sexual identity disturbance.”
Giuffrida agreed to re-take his test, passed it for a second time, but the ministry renewed his license for just one year rather than the usual 10 years because of his homosexuality.
The judge ruling on the case in Catania, on the southern island of Sicily, said the actions of the defense and transport ministries showed “evident sexual discrimination” against Giuffrida and ran counter to his constitutional rights.
The behavior of the ministries led Giuffrida to have “a grave sense of mistrust towards the state,” added the judge, who ordered them to pay him 100,000 euros of damages in his verdict issued on Saturday.
Giuffrida’s lawyer said the case marked the first time the state had been punished for sexual discrimination, and he hoped Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi would “summon Giuffrida and apologize to him on behalf of the state and all Italians.”
Giuffrida said the sentence was “a step forwards for civil rights because from now on what happened to me can’t happen again.”
Reporting by Gavin Jones and Roberto Landucci; Editing by Matthew Jones