Italian court recognises gay parents for the first time

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A landmark court ruling in Italy recognises a gay couple as the legal parents of their children born to a surrogate.

The Court of Appeal in the city of Trento ruled that both men could be named as fathers to the children.

The surrogate mother in Canada, nor the fathers of the child have been identified.

The children were conceived by artificial insemination.

According to the court judges, parental relationships are not solely defined by a biological link.

“On the contrary, one must consider the importance of parental responsibility, which is manifested in the conscious decision to raise and care for the child,” the panel wrote.

The details of the ruling were published on the Article 29 website, which links it to an article to do with family in the country’s constitution.

The 23 February ruling was described as having “great significance” as it is the first time an Italian court has ruled that a child could legally be recognised as having two fathers.

“This is a recognition of full parenthood, in other words, not adoption,” the couple’s lawyer, Alexander Schuster said of the ruling.

“It has recognised for the first time a foreign provision that gives the second father the status of a parent.”

Currently Italian law bans couples from using surrogate mothers.

A child was removed from parents who had paid a Ukrainian surrogate two years ago. The couple were charged with fraud and the child was put up for adoption.

After a long battle, and much opposition from the Catholic Church, last year Italy legalised same-sex civil unions.

Before the law managed to pass in Italy, adoption rights were stripped out, in an effort to appease Catholic politicians.

The bill passed in the Senate after having the adoption provision removed.

The civil union bill came about after the European Court of Human Rights upheld complaints of discrimination by same-sex couples, who currently have no legal rights in Italy.

However, it stirred up resentment between the LGBT community and the country’s powerful anti-gay Catholic lobbying groups – with large rallies and political manoeuvring against the measure.