Italy's Top Court: Protections Needed for Same-Sex Couples, Kids

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday March 10, 2021
Originally published on March 10, 2021

Italy's Constitutional Court ruled March 9 that families of same-sex couples need stronger protections for the sake of the children, AFP reports.

"The court issued rulings in two separate cases, relating to a lesbian couple who had children using medically-assisted reproduction abroad, and two men in a civil partnership who had a child via surrogacy in Canada," the article said.

In one case, the women split up and the non-biological parent was left with no legal relationship to the couple's twins. In the other case, the male couple sought "legal recognition in Italy for both men as fathers," the article said.

Italy falls short of full marriage equality, allowing civil unions. Couples of the same gender are denied certain rights, including the right to adopt. Though, the article noted: "some exceptions are made to allow the adoption of a partner's child" with the consent of the child's birth parent.

The court's focus was not on handing parental rights to the couples in question, but rather assessing if existing law were sufficient. In both cases, the court digressed and urged the Italian parliament to examine the issue of passing legislation that would provide protections for the children of same-sex couples.

The court " 'warned of a "serious lack of protection of the interests of the child' that 'will no longer be tolerable if the inertia of the legislature continues,' " the AFP article said.

"We hoped that the court would take a bigger step," said Marilena Grassadonia of the group Rainbow Families.

Still, the ruling was something of a win for equality advocates. "The court says what we have been saying for years, that there is an immediate need for a law to protect the children of all families," Grassadonia.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.