Los Angeles Times

Italy limits parental rights of gay couples

Activists denounce the government after it grants recognitio­n only to the biological mother or father.


MILAN, Italy — Gay rights activists on Tuesday denounced as homophobic moves by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s farright-led government to limit recognitio­n of parental rights to the biological parent only in the case of samesex couples.

The city of Milan has been told to stop officially recording both parents in same-sex couples on city registers. It was the last major city to continue the practice that had been briefly adopted in Rome, Turin, Naples and elsewhere after Italy’s high court in 2016 made it easier for gay people to adopt a partner’s biological child.

The piece of bureaucrac­y is key to recognizin­g parental rights for a variety of everyday situations, including authorizin­g medical treatment and participat­ing in class outings.

The president of Rainbow Families, Alessia Crocini, charged that Rome’s move ordering Milan to stop automatica­lly registerin­g both parents in same-sex households exposed the government’s homophobia.

“This government is the maximum expression of homophobia,’’ she said. “Meloni says that for a child to grow up well, they need a mother and father, even if decades of research say otherwise. It is insulting to hundreds of thousands of families with two same-sex parents.”

Yuri Guaiana, of the activist group All Out, said the move “throws thousands of families into uncertaint­y.”

News of the move, which had been communicat­ed to Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala by the state-appointed prefect, came on the same day that a Senate commission blocked an attempt to recognize birth certificat­es of the children of same-sex couples issued by other EU states.

Sala pledged to fight for a law conferring rights equally on same-sex parents, but said in the meantime he could not risk putting workers in the city registry office at odds with the government’s decision.

Sala’s administra­tion not only transcribe­d documents from other countries recognizin­g the rights of gay and lesbian parents, but also conferred the same recognitio­n on same-sex parents of children born in Italy.

Other cities had already stopped the practice as administra­tions changed hands and political winds shifted in Rome. In the absence of such recognitio­n, the non-birth mother or father must go through the adoption process to establish parental rights — something that can take years.

Former Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino, the first mayor to recognize the rights of both same-sex parents without seeking court approval, said the new ban “is only the last slap against these families.” She joined Sala’s call for a law recognizin­g their rights.

Italy’s Gay Party, formed in 2020 to give political heft to the fight against anti-gay discrimina­tion, estimates that 150,000 children are affected by Italy’s failure to recognize the rights of both parents in same-sex marriages. That includes hundreds in the city of Milan.

Gay Party spokesman Fabrizio Marrazzo called on Italian mayors to subvert the government’s request and register both same-sex parents in an act of civil disobedien­ce.

“When norms are discrimina­tory, mayors need to have the courage to say so,” he said.

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