While Italy Struggles In The Heatwave, Its Government Is... Erasing Mothers' Rights

It's all part of a LGBTQ+ crackdown from the Italian PM.
ROME, ITALY - 2023/07/17: A woman takes a selfie with an ice cream in front of Trevi Fountain on a hot summer day. (Photo by Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - 2023/07/17: A woman takes a selfie with an ice cream in front of Trevi Fountain on a hot summer day. (Photo by Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Pacific Press via Getty Images

Italy has come under intense scrutiny for erasing mothers from birth certificates this week, even as the country faces sky-high temperatures.

The UK Foreign Office is issuing extreme weather warnings for Brits travelling to Italy (or Spain or Greece), and the latest forecast said there are peaks of 44C on multiple days.

It had Europe’s highest recorded temperature of 48.8C in Sicily two years ago – but that’s expected to be exceeded on the island of Sardinia in the coming days.

Alerts are in place for at least nine major tourist destinations like Rome, Florence and Bologna as well as Sicily’s Palermo and Bari.

And even as this pressing issue is unfolding, the government still seems intent on undermining LGBTQ+ rights.

The Mail on Sunday reported this week that three children born to lesbian mothers have already had their birth certificates altered, to remove one of the two women.

Italy’s right-wing prime minister, Giorgia Meloni – the country’s first female PM and a self-described “Christian mother” – has made her disapproval of same-sex couples who raise children very clear.

In the run up to the election, she campaigned against “LGBT lobbies” and “woke ideologies”. Meloni was in office by October.

A written statement was then shared in March 2023 calling for town halls to stop registering both members of the same-sex couples as legitimate parents, calling for them to only recognise biological parents.

On July 15, Mail on Sunday cited a state prosecution letter sent to one 38-year-old mother, Michela, who is not the biological mother of her daughter, saying that having both names on the birth certificated was “contrary to public order”.

This means only the parent remaining on the certificate has rights over matters like schooling and healthcare. If that mother were to die, their child would be put in the care of relatives or the care system – not that of her other parent.

According to the outlet, “scores more” same-sex parents are being targeted in the crackdown.

The Times reported that in June, a magistrate in Padua sent a court a list of 33 lesbian couples who have registered as parents since 2017. Judges were asked to remove the name of the parent who did not give birth from records.

This news triggered hundreds of protesters to sit outside Padua’s palace of justice. A court hearting for this is set for November 14, according to documents shown to CNN.

All of this is part of a wider crackdown on same-sex parenting and surrogacy happening in Rome right now under Meloni’s government.

IVF for same-sex couples in Italy is already illegal, and while civil union law for same-sex couples were legalised in 2016, marriage and adoption was not permitted at the time due to opposition from the Catholic church.

The Italian government has alleged that it is just clarifying parts of the legal system, but leader of the main centre-left party, Elly Schlein, reportedly told the Mail on Sunday: “These families are tired of being discriminated against. We’re talking about boys and girls already growing up in our communities and going to schools.”

In May, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau told Meloni at a G7 summit that Canada was “concerned” by some of her country’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights, but she replied that her government was just following court decision.

Meanwhile, worries that the Italian government and media are not taking the climate crisis seriously continue.

As the director of the school of journalism at Rome’s Luiss University, Gianni Rotta, told The Guardian that coverage of the climate crisis in Italy is “lousy and it has been lousy for years”.

The climate change think tank ECCO found in a study published last year that most Italians were felt there was a lack of representation within Italian politics on climate issues.

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