Italy’s Democratic leader blasts the limit on LGBTQ parents’ rights
ROME — The leader of Italy’s opposition Democratic Party called the bureaucratic crackdown on LGBTQ families ideological, cruel and discriminatory and pledged on Saturday to push through legislation to better recognize and protect their rights.
Elly Schlein, who in 2020 revealed she was in a relationship with another woman, joined thousands of people at a demonstration in Milan to protest against a decision by the far-right Italian government to restrict parents’ rights in same-sex relationships.
The Interior Ministry this week forced Milan to limit parental rights to the biological parent when same-sex couples register their children with the city.
These registrations are necessary for the parents to have their connection with a child recognized for purposes such as the authorization of medical treatment or the participation in school outings. The prefecture of the national government of Milan cited a loophole by limiting this authority to a biological parent.
LGBTQ rights activists blasted the move as evidence of government discrimination against families headed by same-sex couples.
Party leader Schlein has never made her sexual orientation a major part of her policy, and she did not speak at Saturday’s protest from the main stage.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the protest, she accused Prime Minister Giorgia Meroni’s government of “cruelly going after” the children of gay parents and denying them their rights.
“We are talking about rights being violated when they are already recognized by our constitution. We are talking about girls and boys who are already growing up in our communities, who attend our schools,” Schlein said in comments carried by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. “It is no longer bearable. These families are tired of being discriminated against.
The prefectural decree also stipulates that parental rights must be limited to the biological parent even for children of same-sex couples who were first registered in other member countries of the European Union.
LGBTQ rights groups say the underlying decision of an Italian Senate committee to block recognition of EU documents puts Italy in line with countries like Poland and Hungary, powerful allies of the Meloni government.
“This backward majority has inexplicably castigated children ideologically,” Schlein said. “It goes against a European regulation which establishes a trivial thing and which is that if you are recognized as a daughter or son in another European country, you must also be recognized in Italy.”
The government has not commented on the Milan directive. Meloni, who has a daughter with her partner, has often touted her Christian faith and pro-family values.
Schlein said she would push to open debate on the legislation to close the legal loophole that led to the crackdown.
Also present at Saturday’s protest was Francesca Pascale, the longtime girlfriend of ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Pascale, who is now in a same-sex union with another woman, called Berlusconi’s ruling allies “homophobes”. s.
“The sovereignists in this country are treating us worse than criminals,” she said. “Civil rights are rights for all.”
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