ROME (AP) — The head of Italy’s opposition Democratic Party called a bureaucratic crackdown on LGBTQ families ideological, cruel and discriminatory and promised on Saturday to pass legislation to better recognize and protect their rights.
Elly Schlein, who revealed in 2020 that she was in a relationship with another woman, joined thousands at a demonstration in Milan to protest a move by the far-right-led Italian government to limit parental rights in homosexual relationships.
The Viminale this week ordered Milan to limit parental authority to the biological parent when same-sex couples register their children with the municipality.
These records are necessary for parents to obtain recognition of their relationship with a child for purposes such as authorization for medical treatment or participation in school trips. The national government prefecture of Milan cited a loophole in limiting that authority to a biological parent.
LGBTQ rights activists have criticized the move as evidence of government discrimination against households headed by same-sex couples.
Party leader Schlein has never made her sexual orientation a major part of her politics and did not address Saturday’s protest from the main stage.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the protest, he accused Prime Minister Giorgia Meroni’s government of “cruelly hitting” the children of homosexual parents and denying them their rights.
“We are talking about trampled rights when they are already recognized by our constitution. We are talking about girls and boys who have already grown up in our communities, who go to our schools,” Schlein said in comments streamed by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. “This is no longer tolerable. These families are tired of being discriminated against.”
The prefectural decree also provides that parental authority must be limited to the biological parent also for children of same-sex couples who were first registered in other European Union countries.
LGBTQ rights groups say a key decision by an Italian Senate committee to block recognition of EU documents puts Italy in line with countries like Poland and Hungary, strong allies of the Meloni government.
“This backward majority has inexplicably lashed out ideologically against children,” Schlein said. “This goes against a European regulation which establishes a trivial thing and that 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 values in favor of the family.
Schlein said he would press to open debate on legislation to plug the legal loophole that led to the crackdown.
Also present at Saturday’s protest was Francesca Pascale, former longtime companion of former premier Silvio Berlusconi. Pascale, who is now in a same-sex union with another woman, has criticized Berlusconi’s government allies as “homophobes”. St.
“The sovereigns of this country treat us worse than the criminals,” he said. “Civil rights are rights for everyone”.
Follow AP’s coverage of LGBTQ issues at https://apnews.com/hub/lgbtq-people