Protests in Italy over the Status of Children with Same-Sex Parents

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Meloni, who was elected prime minister last September, made anti-LGBT rhetoric a cornerstone of her electoral campaign, promising to protect traditional values.

Families, activists, and political opponents are to protest in Italy’s northern city of Milan on Saturday against the ban placed on the registration of children of same-sex parents in the country.

In 2016, Italy legalised same-sex civil unions under a centre-left government, and Maria Silvia Fiengo and Francesca Pardi in 2018 became one of the country’s first same-sex couples to be registered as parents.

Giuseppe Sala, the mayor of Milan, 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 ordered Milan’s city council to stop registering the children of same-sex parents, reigniting a debate around Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s conservative agenda.

The news also outraged the country’s LGTBQ+ community, which has repeatedly called out Meloni’s government for discrimination, pointing to a strategy of anti-gay propaganda and tightening of norms against same-sex parenting.

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

“We were always a family, but being officially recognised as such by our own mayor made us feel welcome,” Fiengo said 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.”

Sala announced he has been forced to halt the practice after he was sent a letter by the interior ministry. It cited a ruling by Italy's highest court requiring court approval for legal recognition of parental status.

 “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,” he said, adding he was left with no other choice.

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,” President of the Rainbow Families association Alessia Crocini said.  “We must guarantee our children the same rights as their peers.”