Italy: Government tells Milan to end recognition of same-sex parents

Italy: Government tells Milan to end recognition of same-sex parents
Credit: Belga / Siska Gremmelprez

The Italian interior ministry has demanded that Milan’s city council stop registering children of same-sex parents under both parents' names, in the latest move of the far-right government to undermine the rights of LGBTQ people in the country.

Milan’s centre-left mayor, Giuseppe Sala, declared on Tuesday that he will respect the government's order but will continue to fight for the rights of same-sex parents, Reuters reports. On the same day, the Italian Senate rejected a European Commission regulation which would have ensured the recognition of same-sex parents across borders in the EU.

'Fury against LGBTI people'

Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016 but in order to get the law past fierce opposition from conservatives and the Catholic Church, same-sex parents’ rights to adoption were scrapped from the proposal. Conservative groups argued that granting adoption rights would encourage surrogate pregnancies, which are also illegal in the country.

Provisions around surrogacy and same-sex adoption remained a grey area, as people can seek surrogate pregnancies abroad. The mayors of some Italian cities have registered surrogate births to both parents in same-sex couples, as is the case in Milan. The move to end this practice worries local activists.

"The ban is one of the most concrete manifestations of the fury that the right-wing majority is unleashing against LGBTI people," Gabriele Piazzoni, Secretary General of Italy's largest LGBT+ rights group Arcigay, told Reuters.

Blocking the right to a family

Italy’s governing party, the Brothers of Italy, has neo-fascist roots and came to power by campaigning on Christian values and against “gender ideology”. Tuesday's Senate vote that rejected cross-border recognition of same-sex parents was also led by the Brothers of Italy.

The party and its leader Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni have made the matter of surrogacy a battleground, with Meloni pledging to make it "a universal crime" in her campaign. She also was vocal in her opposition to adoption by gay couples.

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A draft legislation backed by Meloni's party would make it illegal for Italians to seek surrogacies abroad. Although a costly and complicated procedure, this is currently the main way that Italian same-sex couples can become parents; adoption and in vitro fertilization are only allowed for heterosexual couples.

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