Italy’s right-wing government has told Milan’s city council to stop registering same-sex parents’ children, re-igniting a debate around Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s conservative agenda.
Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016, overriding opposition from Catholic and conservative groups, yet it fell short of giving them adoption rights, fearing that it would encourage surrogate pregnancies, which remain illegal.
In the absence of clear legislation on the issue some courts have ruled in favour of allowing same sex couples to adopt each others’ children, and mayors of some cities, including Milan, have registered surrogate births to same-sex couples.
Milan’s centre-left mayor Giuseppe Sala said on Monday he had received a letter from the interior ministry telling him to stop registering the children of same-sex couples.
Sala said in a podcast on Tuesday he would respect the prefecture’s order but would keep fighting politically to guarantee that the rights of same-sex parents and their children are recognised.
Meloni rose to power as a defender of traditional Christian values and denouncing what she calls “gender ideology” and “the LGBT lobby”.
The government’s latest move was decried by LGBT+ 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.
He added that the government is trying to bring Italy in line with countries such as Prime Minister Viktór Orban’s Hungary, “where the denial of rights is matched by extremely high rates of violence and a persecutory social climate against LGBTI people.”
Fabrizio Marrazzo, a leading gay rights campaigner, called for Sala and other mayors to keep registering the birth certificates.
“When a law is unjust and discriminatory those who engages in politics must have the courage to disobey it”, he said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the Senate European Policy Committee rejected the proposed EU regulation for the recognition of the rights of children including those of same-sex couples and the adoption of a European recognition of parenthood (filiation) certificate.
The majority resolution, which opposes the proposed EU regulation and was introduced by Senator Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata (FDI/Ecr), passed despite the opposition’s united and contrary vote.
According to Senator Ivan Scalfarotto (Italia Viva/Renew), “the European filiation certificate would have allowed all children, whoever their parents, to be able to enjoy one of the constituent freedoms of the Union: that of moving freely, and thus living and working, in all 27 states.”
“We punish children to discourage you from having them: the same reasoning we let you drown because then you won’t leave. In a civilised country, things should not work this way”, the senator concluded.
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