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2002-07-16 - Constitutional Court, n. 346

State support · Italy · Place of worship · Public funding

A faith group without agreement with the State cannot be denied public funding for places of worship

Key facts of the case - The question raised is that of constitutional legitimacy of Article 1 of Regional Act of Lombardia no. 20 of 9 May 1992 concerning the building of places of worship and premises aimed to carry out religious services.

Main reasoning of the court - The judges declared the concerned provision illegitimate, on the grounds that it only provided for the funding of the places of worship of the Catholic Church and the six religious denominations having an agreement. The judges held that this difference of treatment amounted to discrimination. All religious denominations have the same right to enjoy religious freedom, regardless of the way they regulate their relationship with the State. A difference of treatment may only be based on objective grounds, such as the concerned religious community’s numerical size and distribution on the local territory.