Protests in Italy today over the status of children with same-sex parents

Same-sex couple with their baby/ Shutterstock Images

Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016 under a centre-left government.

In 2018, Maria Silvia Fiengo and Francesca Pardi were among Italy’s first same-sex couples to be registered as parents.

The mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, took a progressive stance and allowed children born to parents of the same gender to be acknowledged in the absence of clear national legislation.

This week, however, what was then seen as a major victory for equality and acceptance by the LGBT community was reversed.

Italy’s right-wing government instructed Milan’s city council to stop registering the children of same-sex parents, reigniting a debate around Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s conservative agenda.

“We were always a family, but being officially recognised as such by our own mayor made us feel welcome,” said Maria Silvia Fiengo in a BBC interview. “Today, looking at what the government is doing, and knowing that other families won’t be able to have the same opportunity, we feel discouraged.”

Children who are denied the right to have both parents recognised on their birth certificate are left in a legal limbo.

“It is a clear step backwards, politically and socially, and I put myself in the shoes of those parents who thought they could count on this possibility in Milan,” said the mayor in his daily podcast Buongiorno Milano, adding that he was left with no other choice.

Families, activists and political opponents are to protest against the ban in Milan on Saturday, March 18.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, elected last September, has been a vocal supporter of traditional family and Christian values, campaigning against what she calls “gender ideology” and the “LGBT lobby”.

Months before she came to power, she proposed a law that would make surrogacy by an Italian citizen a universal crime, and it is still on her party’s agenda.

“Boys and girls with two mothers and two fathers already exist in Italy, Prime Minister Meloni should get over it,” said Alessia Crocini, president of the Rainbow Families association. “We must guarantee our children the same rights as their peers.”

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