Italy has begun the process of removing the name of non-biological mothers from the birth certificates of children born to lesbian couples. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni ordered a stop to the issuance of birth certificates to same-sex couples. Now local prosecutors are systematically changing birth certificates issued in the past to lesbian couples.
Michela Leidi, 38, told the Daily Mail she “cried for ten days” when she and her partner Viola, 35, opened the letter informing them Leidi’s name would be removed from the birth certificate of the couple’s infant daughter, Giulia. Giulia was born to Viola but has been raised with both women as parents.
“It was as if I did not exist,” Leidi said of her reaction upon opening the letter.
Italy has recognized same-sex civil unions since 2016 but does not provide couples full adoption rights in part because surrogate pregnancy is also illegal in the country.
In the past, some local mayors and city councils granted birth certificates to same-sex couples listing both as parents but the practice stopped earlier this year on orders from Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Local prosecutors are now moving to change those birth certificates to reflect only one mother.
Italian lesbians are not alone in the legal challenges to same-sex parenting. LGBTQ+ same-sex couples with children in Italy face extreme challenges. Non-biological parents can lose custody and children can become wards of the state if the legally recognized parent dies, for example. And they are forced into a lengthy bureaucratic process to legally adopt the child.
Opponents of same-sex parenting expressed little sympathy for the children or their families.
“In Italy, marriage is only between a man and a woman, and therefore only the biological parent is the parent whose surname can be registered,” Italy’s minister for parliamentary relations, Luca Ciriani, told RTL radio said earlier this month according to Reuters.
Despite the recent legal challenges from the government, Leidi said Giulia will be raised by two proud lesbian mothers regardless of the naysayers.
“On paper, they say Giulia has one mother but we know she has two,” Leidi stated. “We will do everything possible to prove we are a good family.”