A town in Italy has been ordered to recognise the marriage of a same-sex couple who married in the US.

The decision by the court in the Tuscan city of Grosseto, is being hailed as a first step towards same-sex marriage in the country.

The couple, Stefano Bucci and Stefano Chigiotti married in 2012 in New York, and had sued the city hall of Grosseto because an official refused to recognise their marriage.

The court ruled that there was no reason that the couple’s marriage, or any marriage from a country where same-sex marriage is legal, should not be recognised.

Senator and former president of Arcigay, Sergio Lo Giudice said: “This is a unique precedent for our country… It is the first time that a gay marriage has been recognized in Italy.”

Fabrizio Marrazzo of the Gay Center rights group said: “Politicians should take note… This opens a new chapter for gay couples in Italy.”

It has not been made clear whether the town will appeal the ruling.