The city of Padua in northern Italy has embarked on a contentious process of removing the names of non-biological gay mothers from their children’s birth certificates. This controversial move comes as a result of new legislation passed by the “traditional family-first” government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
The birth certificates affected belong to 33 children of Italian women who underwent artificial insemination abroad and subsequently registered their children under the city’s previous center-left government, led by Sergio Giordani, in 2017. The recent development, confirmed by the prosecutor’s office in Padua, has already seen 27 mothers’ names removed from as many birth certificates as of Thursday.
Prime Minister Giordani had initially promised to remove the traditional designations of “mother” and “father” on birth certificates, but this policy was overturned by Meloni’s government. The current measure dictates that only the biological parent can be named on the birth certificate, effectively excluding the non-biological parent.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that surrogacy is illegal in Italy, and gay marriage has not been legalized. As a result, non-biological parents in same-sex relationships must undertake the challenging process of legally adopting their children. The new legislation also impacts men in same-sex relationships, who are now required to designate a single legal father on the birth certificate.
Family Minister Eugenia Roccella defended the bill in parliament, asserting that children of gay couples would continue to have access to school and medical services like any other child with one living parent. However, critics argue that the move limits certain rights for the non-registered parent, making everyday family tasks, such as picking up the child from school or utilizing public services on their behalf, subject to permission.
The local chapter of the LGBT campaign group, the Rainbow Family Association, has launched an official protest against the retroactive cancellation of birth certificates. The group contends that these certificates were signed during a legislative void and insists that their children deserve full protection and recognition as citizens, regardless of their family structure.
Furthermore, concerns are mounting that other regions, especially those governed by center-right administrations, may follow Padua’s lead in an attempt to impose a single-family model.
In March, Meloni’s government introduced legislation to extend the national ban on surrogacy to couples who engage in such services abroad. If the law passes, those violating it could face hefty penalties, including a two-year jail term and a fine exceeding $1 million. Critics argue that this measure specifically targets same-sex couples but would also extend to heterosexual couples using surrogacy services abroad.
Prime Minister Meloni’s campaign platform heavily featured anti-LGBT sentiments, and since assuming office in October, she has been vocal about her commitment to ensuring that “all babies are born from a man and a woman”.