Italy legalized same-sex civil unions in 2016, but did not grant same-sex couples the right to adopt.
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Milan to protest against the measures taken by the new right-wing Italian government to restrict the rights of same sex parents.
“You explain to my son that I am not his mother,” read a sign held up in a sea of rainbow flags that filled one of the northern city’s central plazas on Saturday.
Italy has legalized same-sex civil unions in 2016, but opposition from Catholic Church meant that he did not grant same-sex couples the right to adopt.
Decisions have instead been made on a case-by-case basis by the courts in legal actions brought by parents, although some local authorities have decided to act unilaterally.
Milan registered the children of same-sex couples conceived abroad through surrogacy, which is illegal in Italy, or medically assisted procreation, which is only available to heterosexual couples.
But its centre-left mayor, Beppe Sala, revealed this week that these registrations had ceased after a letter was sent from the Interior Ministry insisting that justice decide.
“It’s a clear setback from a political and social point of view, and I put myself in the shoes of those parents who thought they could count on this possibility in Milan,” he said in a podcast while promising to fight against change.
The gay party’s Fabrizio Marrazzo said around 20 children were waiting to be registered in Milan, condemning the change as “unfair and discriminatory”.
A mother or father who is not legally recognized as the parent of their child can face enormous bureaucratic problems, including the risk of losing the child if the registered parent dies or if the couple’s relationship breaks down.
Elly Schlein, newly elected leader of the center-left Democratic Party, was among opposition politicians who attended Saturday’s protest, in which many activists railed against the new national government.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloniwhose far-right Italian Brothers party finished first in the September elections, places a strong emphasis on traditional family values.
“Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby!” she said in a speech last year ahead of her election to lead a right-wing coalition that includes Matteo SalviniAnti-Immigration League.
Earlier this week, a Senate committee voted against an EU plan to force member states to recognize same-sex parent rights afforded elsewhere in the bloc.