Protests take place in Milan against Italy's right-wing government

Protests take place in Milan against Italy's right-wing government

MILAN: Hundreds of people took to the streets in Milan on Saturday, March 18 in protest against the move by Italy's new right-wing government to restrict the rights of same-sex parents.

You explain to your son that I'm not his mother, read a sign held up amid a sea of rainbow flags that filled one of the central squares of the city.

Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016 but opposition from the Catholic Church prevented it from giving gay couples the right to adopt.

Parents take legal action, but some local authorities have decided to act unilaterally, and decisions have been made on a case-by-case basis by the courts.

Milan had been registering children of the same-sex couples conceived overseas through surrogacy - which is illegal in Italy - or medically assisted reproduction, which is only available for heterosexual couples.

But its centre-left mayor Beppe Sala has said this week that this had stopped after the interior ministry sent a letter insisting that the courts must decide.

It is an obvious step backwards from a political and social point of view, and I put myself in the shoes of those parents who thought they could count on this possibility in Milan, he said in a podcast, vowing to fight the change.

Fabrizio Marrazzo of the Gay Party said that about 20 children are waiting to be registered in Milan, condemning the change as unjust and discriminatory a mother or father who is not recognised as their child's parent can face huge bureaucratic problems, with the risk of losing the child if the registered parent dies or the couple's relationship breaks down.

Elly Schlein, the newly elected leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, was among opposition politicians who attended the protest Saturday, where many campaigners railed against the new government.

The prime minister Giorgia Meloni, whose far-right Brothers of Italy party came top in September elections, puts a strong emphasis on traditional family values.

Yes, to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby! She spoke last year before her election as the head of a right-wing coalition that includes Matteo Salvini's anti-immigration League.

A Senate committee voted against an EU plan to require member states to recognise the rights of same-sex parents granted elsewhere in the bloc.