An Italian trans woman is contesting a decision to not allow her to remain married to her wife following gender reassignment.

Alessandra Bernaroli, 43, maintains her marriage of nine years is strong and she and her wife want to remain married.

The bank employee in Bologna, North Italy, gave her new name when updating her identity card. But the local marriage registry dissolved the marriage because it would not acknowledge a same-sex marriage.

Alessandra said, “My body may have changed, but the love between us remains the same. I’m acting to defend our marriage.

“I fell in love with her nearly 20 years ago when I was a man and we love each other as much as the first day we met, despite the fact that after a long journey and many operations I became a woman. Why should the state now try to separate us?”

Her wife was shocked, but supported Alessandra through the gender reassignment.

Alessandra won an appeal in Italy’s national appeals court, after a local court upheld the  marriage registry’s decision.

The appeals court ruled the couple’s right to marriage and to decide when to divorce were violated constitutionally in this particular case.

The ruling has now reached the supreme constitutional court, La Consulta. If they agree the ruling was unconstitutional, it could set a precedent to legalise same-sex marriage in Italy.

The Constitutional Court will come to a decision this week.