In a controversial move, Italy’s right-wing government has instructed Milan’s city council to cease registering the children of same-sex parents, sparking renewed debate around Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s conservative policies.
Despite legalizing same-sex civil unions in 2016 amid opposition from Catholic and conservative factions, Italy stopped short of granting adoption rights to these couples. The government expressed concerns that doing so would encourage surrogate pregnancies, which remain illegal in the country. Nonetheless, some courts have permitted same-sex couples to adopt each other’s children, and several city mayors, including Milan’s Giuseppe Sala, have registered surrogate births to such couples.
On Monday, Sala disclosed that he had received a letter from the interior ministry directing him to halt the registration of same-sex couples’ children. The Milan prefecture, a branch of the interior ministry, invoked a ruling from Italy’s highest court, asserting that parents can only attain legal recognition through explicit court approval for adoption.
In response, Sala stated on Tuesday in a podcast that he would abide by the prefecture’s directive but continue to fight for the recognition of same-sex parents and their children’s rights.
Prime Minister Meloni, who champions traditional Christian values and frequently criticizes “gender ideology” and “the LGBT lobby,” has faced backlash from LGBT+ activists for this decision. Gabriele Piazzoni, Secretary General of Italy’s largest LGBT+ rights organization Arcigay, condemned the ban as “one of the most concrete manifestations of the fury that the right-wing majority is unleashing against LGBTI people.”
Fabrizio Marrazzo, a prominent gay rights advocate, urged Sala and other mayors to persist in registering birth certificates for same-sex parents. In a statement, Marrazzo emphasized that “when a law is unjust and discriminatory, those who engage in politics must have the courage to disobey it.”