Change the World

Italian Cabinet Minister Equates Surrogate Parents With Sex Offenders

Fervent opposition has stalled the same-sex union vote in Italy and threatens to splinter Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's coalition. The hot mess surrounding what should have been an easy vote comes down to the bill's extension of already-legal "stepchild adoption" to same-sex couples.

The change would allow same-sex partners in a civil union to adopt the other's biological children, including children born through surrogacy.

A majority of legislators would likely otherwise support the bill, but most — and the vast majority of Italians — oppose same-sex adoption. Even Renzi's own Democratic Party has failed to unify on the issue, with an estimated 36 of its 112 senators opposing the bill.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled last June that Italy breached human rights by failing to offer civil unions with equal benefits to straight partners, including adoption rights.

Renzi aimed to put the bill, authored by Senator Monica Cirinna, to a vote by the end of 2015. Now, the most recent attempt in over two decades to legalize civil unions is expected to go to a vote when the Senate reconvenes on January 28.

At least 70 Italian cities will hold demonstrations in support of the bill on Saturday, Marilena Grassadonia, president of Italy's Famiglie Arcobaleno (Rainbow Families) said in an interview with Gays With Kids.

"The Italian position in terms of LGBT rights compared to most European countries is gruesome and shameful," she says. Grassadonia says the public is, overall, more open and inclusive than government representatives.

A June 2015 poll showed public support for the bill at 74%. The Italian public overwhelmingly supports civil unions but not gay family adoption rights — though the bill’s popularity indicates citizens may be more open to “stepchild adoption" than same-sex couples adopting children without biological ties.

"Never before have LGBT organizations and we, as Rainbow Families (Famiglie Arcobaleno), received so much solidarity and participation," Grassadonia says. "In real life, real people who do not live by prejudice and fear are in favor of children's and parents' happiness."

The Vatican accused Renzi’s government of “putting the traditional family in the corner,” the Italian English-language website The Local reports.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco — who has venomously condemned same-sex unions as recently as last year — spoke out Sunday to let the public know he thinks Italy’s annual pro-tradition (and anti-LGBT) Family Day rally is “absolutely necessary” this year.

Though we’d love to ignore the seemingly pointless statement completely, it does indicate a shift in Vatican attitudes. Catholic bishops were notably absent from last year's Family Day rally but are expected to demonstrate this year. Vatican expert Marco Ansaldo of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica suspects the pope sanctioned the statement, indicating a shift in strategy.

“Bagnasco’s statement means the bishops have probably ­spoken to the Pope, who will have allowed them a free hand,” he says. Vatican has until now refrained from involving itself directly in the civil union debate.

Italy’s interior minister, Angelino Alfano, took the fight to another level earlier this month, calling for surrogate parents to be treated as sex offenders. Italians who travel abroad for surrogacy services currently face no legal repercussions upon their return to Italy, where surrogacy is illegal.

“Stepchild [adoption] really risks bringing wombs for rent to the country, towards the most repugnant, illicit trade that man could have invented,” Alfano told the Italian bishop’s conference-owned newspaper Avvenire.

Grassadonia says the stepchild adoption section of the bill simply includes gay couples in a 1983 law extending parental rights to non-biological parents.

"You are not legislating on anything new, we are limited only to extending the rights already in place for heterosexual couples, focusing on the child's interest," she says.

In Italy, she says, straight couples comprise 95% of the foreign surrogacy clientele. Increasingly, in countries where reports of humans rights violations have surfaced — Thailand and India, for example — gay surrogacy has been banned.

"Egalitarian marriage, adoption and full recognition of children at birth: These rights that could be conquered would make Italy a truly 'civil' country," Grassadonia says.

Photo credit: Gay Star News

Show Comments ()
Change the World

In the Philly Area? Attend 'Family Pride' On October 5th!

Philadelphia Family Pride is hosting their 10th Annual "Family Matters" Conference on October 5th for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents, and their kids!

Guest post by Stephanie Haynes, the executive director of Philadelphia Family Pride

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, Philadelphia Family Pride will hold their 10th Annual Family Matters Conference from 9am to 3:30pm for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents and their kids of all ages at the University of the Sciences in West Philadelphia. The theme this year is "Telling Our Stories." Registration is now open!

In an interactive keynote, Anndee Hochman, author of the Philadelphia Inquirer's weekly "Parent Trip" column, will share highlights from her work as a journalist and memoirist. She'll invite conversation about the stories that shape us—what tales do we share? who does the telling? who is left out?—and how those stories, added up, are changing the world. Read her bio.

Keep reading... Show less

Upcoming Marvel Hero is Not Only Gay — He's a Dad!

Break out the spandex, dads, Marvel finally recognized our superhero status!

Calling all gay dad geeks! This is not a drill!

At a recent Disney expo, Marvel Studio President Kevin Feige announced that an upcoming superhero in The Eternals will not only be gay — he'll have a partner and kids.

A gay dad superhero? Take that all of our collective high school bullies! We've finally made it!

But we'll have to wait a bit longer to figure who, exactly, gay dads 'round the globe will be dressing up as each and every Halloween for time eternal. Feige only revealed that the future character will be "married, he's got a family, and that is just part of who he is."

As Out Magazine noted, the rollout of LGBTQ characters in the Marvel universe has been teased for years. In 2015, Feige said the company would "for sure" include an openly gay character some day — a day which, finally, seems to be just around the corner. Just last month, the studio announced Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie character in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder will be its first queer character.

And now, with news of a gay dad superhero not far behind (November 2020, but who's keeping track?) it seems like the company is finally making good on its promise.

Watch. This. Space.

Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe


WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

Keep reading... Show less

'Life Is Amazing': Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Recently Grew!

Help us congratulate gay dads on their recent births and adoptions last month!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded in the last month or so a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

We Gained a Son Through Foster Care — He Didn't Lose his Family

Foster-adopt expert Trey Rabun writes a moving essay about his own experiences as a parent in the foster care system.

My husband, Phil, and I talked about having children since out first date over 11 years ago. Like many other gay dads, we waited to start the journey to become parents until we felt secure with our careers, finances, and home life. This meant we didn't start the partnering journey until 2016 when we were eight years into our relationship.

When we first met, I was completing my graduate studies in social work and subsequently started a career working in foster care and adoption. This made our decision to pursue foster care-adoption as our path to parenthood a fairly easy one. In fact, I can't recall us discussing other avenues to parenthood, but I'm sure we briefly discussed them before solidifying our decision to become foster parents.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Adoption

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Preparing for Your Home Study

Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network lists the 5 things gay men should keep in mind when preparing for your home study

The homestudy is the first step in the adoption process. In every state the homestudy is done a little differently, but all of them have the some combo of paperwork, trainings, and interviews. The homestudy can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months to complete. Without it, you cannot adopt.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse