The Constitutional Court in Italy has refused to hear a adoption case involving two American mothers.

Nora Beck, and her wife, Liz Joffe, had their case referred from a tribunal in Bologna, but the court said the case was inadmissible.

The couple, who moved to Italy from Portland for a year 2013, had sought to apply Mrs Beck’s Italian citizenship to the rest of the family and adopt each other’s biological children – gaining legal protection.

Although they had already done this in the United States, it was not recognised in Italy.

Mrs Beck had acquired her citizenship from her late mother.

The lower court ruled that Mrs Beck could only pass her citizenship onto her biological son and not to the couple’s daughter, who Mrs Joffe had given birth to, but referred the case for clarity.

In its decision, the Constitutional Court said the lower court had mishandled the law and instead of dealing with the issue of adoption, it should have dealt with Italian recognition of a foreign court’s decision.

It was due to this mistake they refused to hear the case.

The family have since moved back to Oregon, but said they hoped the country would soon recognise same-sex adoption.

Speaking in Italian, Mrs Beck said: “My mother wanted this for my children.

“Their ‘nonna’ wanted my children to be Italian.”

The refusal comes amid a high profile battle in the Italian parliament to have civil unions and gay adoption recognised.

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Many in the country remain fiercely opposed to any legal recognition of same-sex relationships, with the Catholic Church wielding huge influence.

The Senate is due to vote on the issue this week, after Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, agreed to remove a provision that would prevent couple’s from adopting their partner’s children.

Last year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Italy must recognise same-sex relationships, as it was the last Western European country to do so.

Oscar winning actress, Julianne Moore, recently visited the country to support the fight for same-sex civil unions and adoption rights.