The mayor of Rome has called for the removal of homophobic billboards which denounce surrogacy by same-sex families.
The billboards appeared in the Italian capital on Monday and feature two men standing behind a crying infant.
‘Two men don’t make a mother,’ the billboard’s caption reads.
Conservative group ProVita (Pro Life) erected the billboards. ProVita says it ‘defends the rights of children from conception to natural death, which supports the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman and that defends the right of parents to educate their children’.
The group made international headlines when it put up a graphic anti-abortion billboard near the Vatican in April this year.
Protest against surrogacy
The latest billboards feature arrows pointing to each of the men reading ‘parent 1’ and ‘parent 2’. That refers to temporary changes in laws a which allowed parents to register as parent one and two of their children, rather than a mother and father. The move generated a lot of controversy among conservatives and religious groups who protested the move to more inclusive language. But the law was quickly changed.
But the billboards courted controversy, with many calling for them to be taken down.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi agreed and ordered their removal. She said they violate sections of the city’s Regulations on Public Billposting. Those sections prohibit advertising which features content detrimental to the respect of individual rights and liberties.
‘The exploitation of a gay couple and infant offends all citizens,’ Raggi said in a statement.
LGBTI groups welcomed the removal of the billboards.
‘Those posters represent an offence not only for LGBT+ people and their families but for all citizens and are yet another attempt by ProVita to gain visibility and the opportunity play victim,’ president of Rainbow Families, Marilena Grassadonia said in a statement.
‘We are happy with the speedy reaction of advocacy groups and the leadership of political leaders. [It was] a united and uncompromising response to those who want to manipulate children to carry on propaganda filled with hate and homophobia.’
But ProVita has labelled the billboards’ removal as censorhip.
‘Rome sinks into decay and the priorities of the Mayor are the illegal transcripts to the registry of “children of same-sex couples” and the forced removal of posters that stigmatize a practice, that a womb can be for rent (surrogacy), which is illegal in Italy. It is LGBT totalitarianism,’ the group said in a statement.
Italy and rainbow families
Italy does not allow same-sex couples to adopt children, but some couples have successfully petitioned courts to adopt their partner’s children.
There have been some successful court cases where same-sex parents have been registered as the parents of children born through IVF or surrogacy.
Surrogacy is illegal in Italy, but many couples travel overseas to have children.