Italy's Crackdown On Same-Sex Parents Could Retroactively Dissolve Families
A new measure from the right-wing government could force same-sex parents of children already in elementary school to suddenly lose their parental rights and status.
In March, Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala was ordered to stop independently registering same-sex couples as parents of newborns, in accordance with an Italian high court ruling that only the court can rubber-stamp legal recognition of a same-sex parent. This new enforcement involves halting the legal registration of children of same-sex parents, compromising the children’s ability to access education and medical care.
This week, the crackdown has gone one step further in the northern city of Padua, where 33 families with same-sex mothers now risk losing basic recognition of parental status for their children.
The documents that the families have received in recent days contain the request of the Public Prosecutor's Office for the alteration of their children’s birth certificates years after their children have been born, with some of them already in primary school.. The administration's policy seeks to make only the biological parent the legal caretaker, leaving the other parent with no rights over their own children.
This is being enforced retroactively by Meloni's government, as the birth certificates of children who are already enrolled in primary school may need to be changed.
The birth certificates must now only hold the name of the biological mothers. The non-biological mother will be the designated “second parent.” The families are also being asked to change the children’s last names so as to exclude that “second parent.”
For our daughter, this ordeal risks becoming a trauma in a delicate phase of her development.
For one of the couples, the court has already set the date of the hearing for the discussion of the appeal for Nov. 14.
“For our daughter, this ordeal risks becoming a trauma in a delicate phase of her development. She will no longer have a brother and a mother," says the biological mother of one family affected.
The woman is 40 years old, the same age as her wife, and they were married abroad. Their daughter is almost six years old and will be in first grade next year. She has a younger brother, who was given birth to by her non-biological mother. Following Nov. 14, she may not have her family legally recognized by the state.
The Padua Public Prosecutor's Office challenged all the pro-LGBTQ acts since 2017. If the court accepts the prosecutor's request, overnight these 33 children will find themselves formally orphaned from one of their parents. 33 mothers will no longer be legally considered parents of their children. They will not be able to pick up their children from school, take them to the doctor or sign their school booklets. The most solid relationship of one’s life will now be swept away by a judicial act.
“We are talking about removing a legal parent from a minor, even six years after birth. A shameful and unworthy act for a civilized country,” says Alessia Crocini, president of Famiglie Arcobaleno, an organization that supports same-sex parents.
Pro LGBTQ+ march after the sinking of the Zan DDL in the Senate on 30 October 2021 in Turin, Italy.
Hope and frustration
Among the Padua mothers, there are still those who hope not to be affected by the act. “My wife and I are terrified,” admits Vanessa Finesso. “I gave birth to our daughter, but my wife is the biological mother. I hope this protects us. Our little girl grew up with a love that is no less than what she would get from a father.”
Finesso turned to the city of Padua, which has a center-left administration. Mayor Sergio Giordani comments that “we have always promptly communicated each deed to the Prosecutor, without ever having counter-arguments. There are times when a mayor is alone with his conscience and the Constitution, and must decide in the primary interest of those in front of him. And for me the interest to put at the center was that of these children.”
On Monday, the prosecutor herself commented: “I am required to enforce the law. And with the current legislation, I can't do anything else.”
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