For the first time in Italian history, a court has granted permission for the adoption of a child living with a gay couple. The child is the biological daughter of one of the women, and her partner has been allowed to legally become her co-parent through adoption.
The couple have been living together in Rome since 2003, and the decision was taken by the city’s Juvenile Court. It’s believed that the child was conceived through IVF treatment abroad – where the couple also underwent a marriage ceremony.
In a statement, the women told Italy’s Republica newspaper that they were, ‘happy, almost incredulous’, with the decision.
‘This is a victory for children and all those children who are in the same situation of our child.’
Italy, with its close association with the Catholic Church, has lagged behind other European countries in regard to LGBT rights, and campaigners continue to lobby on a wide range of issues. There is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships, and joint adoption by same-sex couples is not allowed. Until this ruling, step-child adoption by same-sex couples was also forbidden.
Unsurprisingly, the decision was criticised by some Italian commentators. Carlo Giovanardi, leader of the socially conservative wing of the New Centre-Right party, labelled the judgment ‘subversive’.
However, the court’s decision was praised by others, including the Vice President of the Democratic Party and LGBT campaigner, Ivan Scalfarotto, who described it as a ‘landmark ruling’ that creates, ‘hope for thousands of Rainbow families’.
In upholding the women’s appeal for the right to adopt, the court acted on the basis of a law which provides for adoption in particular cases. In this case, the court ruled that it was acting, ‘in the best interests’ of the girl concerned, noting that the couple had been together for several years and had provided an emotionally stable upbringing for the child.