The Guardian, UK: Italy’s families minister has said same-sex couples who have children via surrogacy abroad should not be recognised as legal guardians.
In a sign that he may make it increasingly difficult for gay people to become parents, Lorenzo Fontana, who is from the far-right League party, told a parliamentary hearing on Thursday: “The current family law situation cannot fail to take account of what has been happening in recent months on the issue of the recognition of parenthood, with the registration of children conceived abroad by couples of the same sex via the use of practices that are banned by our laws and should stay so.”
The comments by Fontana, who in June said same-sex parents “don’t exist”, were directed at the northern city of Turin, which this year became the first city in Italy to legally register gay parents of children born via IVF or surrogacy, and the other smaller administrations that followed suit.
Turin is led by Chiara Appendino, a politician with the Five Star Movement, the League’s populist government coalition partner.
“We are proud that Turin was the first Italian city to give homosexual couples the right to be recognised as parents,” she said in response to Fontana. “We will continue along this path, in order to guarantee children the right to a family in which love is the only necessary requirement.”
The leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister and interior minister, joined the debate, saying his government would defend the right of children to have “a mother and a father”.
“So long as I am minister, gametes for sale and wombs for rent do not exist in practice – they are crimes,” he said.
The League’s stance is a setback for same-sex couples in Italy after they were granted limited rights in 2016 in a civil unions bill passed by the previous centre-left government. Although widely praised at the time, the law stopped short of allowing gay marriage as well as rights for gay people to jointly adopt children or stepchildren.
Fontana, a Catholic, once said that gay marriage and mass immigration threatened to “wipe out our community and traditions”. He is also anti-abortion and as minister has pledged to limit the number of abortions carried out in Italy and give doctors greater freedom to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy.