Rome’s juvenile court has awarded an Italian lesbian couple the right to adopt each other’s children in a landmark case for the country.
The court said on Friday that Marilena Grassadonia, president of the Rainbow Families association, could adopt her wife’s twin boys; her partner was also allowed to adopt Grassadonia’s son. It marks a legal first for Italy, where strong opposition to same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption from the Catholic Church has slowed legislation on LGBT rights.
The Guardian noted that all previous verdicts in favor of lesbian women being recognized as parents of their partner’s children by Italian law are currently at the appeal stages.
“On a personal level, it’s a huge satisfaction, but I cannot be fully happy when I think that our families depend on individual decisions,” The Guardian quoted Grassadonia as saying.
Gay parental rights unprotected
Grassadonia has long been a fierce critic of Italy’s laws on gay rights. In February, Italy passed a civil unions bill that gave legal recognition to same-sex couples for the first time in the country’s history. However, LGBT activists, including Grassadonia, noted the bill had been significantly watered down before it was passed.
In particular, a provision that would have granted non-biological parents in same-sex relationships parental rights was removed from the legislation before it could be voted in. Instead, cases involving gay parents and adoption would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Prime minister Matteo Renzi tweeted “Love wins” after the civil unions bill passed, despite having removed the provision on parenting. The Rainbow Families association, over which Grassadonia presides, slammed the legislation for “ignoring the existence and needs of the sons and daughters of homosexuals”.
Italy is behind its neighbors
Italy is markedly behind other Western European countries in its attitudes towards same-sex couples and families. In February last year, a public poll found that opposition to gay marriage in Italy had soared to 59.2% – up from 50.7% in 2014 – and 72.2% of people were against gay adoption.
Following the passing of the civil unions bill, right-wing Northern League party member Roberto Calderoli said prime minister Renzi “will probably end up in hell”.
However, some gay Catholics believe the Pope has signaled support for gay parenting in his recent document on modern families.
Main Image: Facebook