Italian prime minister targets LGBTQ families

Wikimedia Commons/Vox España – CPAC 2022 con Hermann Tertsch y Victor Gonzalez

Following her 2022 victory to become the first female prime minister in Italy, Giorgia Meloni of the far-right conservative Brothers of Italy party has made numerous strides towards diminishing the rights of LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups.

In March, Meloni stepped up attacks on the rights of LGBTQ couples with kids and those who want to adopt kids. Now, same-sex couples are unable to both have official custody of the children; only one name shows up on the birth certificate — that of the biological parent(s), rather than the parents raising the kids. 

If one parent dies, the other could lose custody of their child, as there would be no guarantee of protection for their family. It is not clear what would happen to families with gay parents who are not biologically related to the children.

Multiple news reports have indicated that Italian officials have already started removing lesbian mothers from children’s birth certificates. Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala said in March that he was directed by the interior ministry to stop registering kids of same-sex couples, according to Reuters.

Some Italian mayors and city leaders, however, are continuing to show support for these families, despite opposition from the central government. Hundreds of women held a sit-in last month outside of a Padua’s Palace in northern Italy response to a state prosecutor’s declaration that the birth certificates for dozens of children with lesbian parents were illegal.

“Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology, yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death,” Meloni said during a speech in Spain. 

The attacks on LGBTQ families compound existing stressors for LGBTQ people and families in Italy, which has restrictions on surrogacy and artificial insemination. Many couples find themselves going to a neighboring country in order to get artificially inseminated, and medical assistance for reproduction is only available to heterosexual couples. 

Italy has not legalized gay marriage, with only same-sex civil unions being recognized as valid. Couples in same-sex civil unions do not have the same rights as those in heterosexual relationships, such as jointly adopting and recognizing both parents equally.

While there does seem to be some support and activism from government officials and Italian society, the country is heavily influenced by the presence and history of Catholicism.