COFACE member NELFA marked World Children’s Day on November 20th 2023, alongside several other rainbow organisations with a joint statement highlighting and condemning recent developments in Italy, where some children are now facing the distressing reality of unrecognised parents.
Early this year, Italy’s Minister of Interior announced that registrars should no longer register the children of same-sex couples. The government’s intimidation resulted in a series of administrative and legal attacks against LGBTIQ*families throughout the country. In Padua at least 33 mothers of 37 children received notification that their child(ren)’s birth certificates, in which two women’s names appeared, were illegitimate. On Tuesday 14 November 2023, the first hearings possibly leading to the retroactive removal of the non-biological mothers’ names from their respective birth certificates, effectively erasing the legal motherhood of the non-biological mothers, took place before the Court of Padua. The public prosecutor’s office and the lawyer of the mothers in question, claim that removing one mother is unconstitutional.
In many cases, the deregistration comes after many years, and the children thus ‘lose’ one mother, and sometimes their family name, from one day to the other. The Joint Statement highlights that deregistration of a parent marks a clear breach of human rights, with significant negative impacts on the well-being and day-to-day lives of the parents and the children, and are clearly not in the best interests of the child.
These attacks are possible due to the fact that Italy lacks a national law ensuring the recognition at birth or through adoption of the children of same-sex couples. A few courageous mayors have in the past agreed to register the birth certificates of children with two mothers or transcribe the birth certificates of children with two fathers to ensure the children are not exposed to discrimination. The order to deregister one of the parents ultimately amounts to “orphanage” by decree, instigated by the prosecution and in line with the Meloni government’s clear stance of not recognising parental rights of LGBTIQ* individuals. This is a reminder that only legal protections such as adoption rights for same-sex couples can ensure that the fundamental rights and the best interest of all children to have their parents recognised are guaranteed. These attacks on rainbow families are happening in a context of broader attacks on the LGBTIQ*community in Italy and their fundamental rights by the government.
All families need to be recognised and respected, without discrimination, in order to protect the best interest of the child and make sure they are not exposed to discrimination. The undersigned organisations condemn the recent attacks on rainbow families and urge the Italian government to reconsider the current anti-LGBTIQ* actions and decisions:
- NELFA – Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy Arcigay nazionale
- EL*C – Eurocentralasian Lesbian* Community
- Društvo kulturno, informacijsko in svetovalno središče Legebitra, Slovenia
- Familles-arc-en-ciel/Regenbogenfamilien/famiglie_arcobaleno/famiglias_a’artg, Switzerland
- Sateenkaariperheet ry / Rainbow Families Association Finland
- ILGA World
Read the full joint statement here.