The public prosecutor is appealing against the birth certificate of a girl with two mothers registered by the municipality six years ago and threatening to carry out the same procedure for another 33 children who, since 2017, have been registered in the Civil Registry by same- sex parents, despite the fact that Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016 under a centre-left government, but stopped short of giving couples full adoption rights due to concerns that there would be a rise of surrogate pregnancies that are currently illegal in Italy.
Valeria Sanzari, public prosecutor of Padua, has since confirmed that all the appeals are for very similar cases and that notifications will reach the 33 couples. The Padua public prosecutor’s office, defines illegitimacy by the mention of the non-biological mother as the second parent on the birth certificate. She has therefore requested the cancellation of the surname of the latter and the rectification of the double surname attributed to the children, based on the fact that in Italian law there is no such figure as a second mother, therefore making it impossible for a woman to assign the surname of her partner to her biological child, in the event that the latter is also a woman.
Emma Bonino, the Governor of the region, has intervened, pointing out that the 33 birth certificates, from 2017 to the present day, that are being appealed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Padua, are not 33 pieces of paper, but 33 children. This is what the homophobia of the Italian state produces, which overrides the feelings of children and their families to impose a single family model.
The parent whose name will be removed from the birth certificate will lose the ability to fulfil a range of normal family tasks, such as collecting her child from school without written permission of the other parent. The worst consequence of this action is if the legally recognized parent dies, the children of the family could be removed from the family home and the custody of the other parent and be made a ward of the state. The non-biological parent then faces a long and costly legal procedure to adopt her own child through a special adoption procedure.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government remains implacable with the minister for parliamentary relations, Luca Ciriani, defends the position stating “In Italy, marriage is only between a man and a woman, and therefore only the biological parent is the parent whose surname can be registered.”
The current Italian government’s stance on the way children of same-sex marriages are treated is at variance with other European governments and is subject to criticism.
Maria Cecilia Castellazzi, Trainee Lawyer