Children of same-sex women couples in the northern Italian city will no longer be granted birth certificates with both parents’ names, while those born to two men will not be able to have their foreign-issued birth certificates transcribed, under a rule change which the mayor said he intends to fight.
The order reportedly came from Milan’s state representative’s office in the form of a circular referencing a 2004 law that bans non-heterosexual couples from accessing fertility treatments and prohibits surrogacy in Italy.
The rule means that same-sex couples in Italy must go abroad for fertility treatments, and children born to two men via a surrogate must be delivered overseas and then have their foreign birth certificates transcribed in Italy.
Those who break the law face up to three years and two months in prison or a fine of between 600,000 and one million euros.
In the past, it has been broadly up to local authorities to decide whether they will register the births of children born to same-sex partners.
In 2018, three gay couples in the northern city of Turin won a landmark battle to have both parents legally recognised on their children’s birth certificates – a first for Italy.
In October 2021, a Milan court issued a sentence requiring the city to register children of same-sex fathers born via a surrogate, arguing that a child has no control over the circumstances of its birth.
Now, Italy’s new government is saying it views such registrations as ‘illegitimate’ in the eyes of the law, after Milan municipal councillor Matteo Forte took up the issue with the interior ministry.
When Italy’s far-right Brothers of Italy came to power in September, equal rights campaigners feared that the freedoms of minority groups would come under attack.
Last April, Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni – who has since become Italy’s prime minister – proposed a bill that would make the use of surrogacy by an Italian citizen a “universal crime”, regardless of where it took place.
“The womb for rent is a commodification of women’s bodies and of human life,” she wrote in a tweet at the time.
L’utero in affitto è una mercificazione del corpo delle donne e della vita umana. Per questo mi auguro possa presto diventare legge la mia proposta per renderlo reato universale. pic.twitter.com/lQKVOTxFvO
— Giorgia Meloni (@GiorgiaMeloni) April 23, 2022
Though jurists say it would likely be impossible to implement such a law in practice, the clause was adopted by the Justice Commission of Italy’s former legislature.
Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala, from the Europa Verde (Green) party, met with LGBT families on Monday and assured them he would fight a “political battle” to have the rule overturned.
“The mayor of Milan had to give in to the pressure of the Meloni government and in the end came to a decision that is painful and unjust,” Alessia Crocini, head of the Rainbow Families organisation, told Italian news outlets.
‘We are aware of how hard this government is working to strip even the most basic rights from same-sex-parent families.”
“Boys and girls with two mothers and two fathers already exist in Italy, the Piantedosi (Italy’s interior minister) ministers and Prime Minister Meloni need to get over it.”