Protestors rally in London over Italy’s stripping of lesbian mums from birth certificates
Protestors have rallied in London against Italy’s move to strip non-gestational lesbian mothers’ names from their children’s birth certificates.
Activists gathered outside the Italian embassy on Wednesday (2 August) to show solidarity for Italy’s queer community at a Lesbians Are Mothers Too protest.
The move follows right-wing populist prime minister Giorgia Meloni’s announcement that state agencies should no longer register the children of same-sex couples, with a prosecutor in northern Italy ordering the cancellation and reissue of 33 birth certificates of lesbian couples’ children, according to Human Rights Watch.
Stripping mothers from birth certificates endangers children’s access to medical care and education, with the mother named on the birth certificate being required to give permission for parental rights to the one not listed.
The protest was a combined effort by EuroCentralAsian Lesbian* Community (EL*C), who called the protest, Stonewall, LGBT Mummies and podcast From Gay to Ze.
‘What a load of baloney, Meloni’
Throughout the protest, activists chanted “Viva la mamma lesbica”, which translates as: “Long live the lesbian mother”, and “Mamma mia”, while people held signs that read “Lesbian mothers deserve parental rights” and “What a load of baloney, Meloni”.
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Katy Mezey, who gave birth to her daughter, told PinkNews that the situation is “appalling” and “traumatising” for the mothers going through it.
“I’m in a same-sex relationship and we have a daughter. It’s amazing that we’re able to have this family, but we don’t take it for granted. It’s the simple truth that we’re her parents, we love her, we give her everything we can, like most parents do. My partner is as much a parent to her as I am.
“Sometimes it can feel fragile, when you make a family in your own way, to imagine someone ripping it away, the kind of damage it would do psychologically.”
“If you want to prioritise something, prioritise families harming children, there are enough of those to be concentrating on without putting your attention on loving families,” she said in a comment directed at Meloni.
‘It’s important to feel that we’re not alone’
Italian mother Chiara Luxardo, who attended the protest with a daughter she did not give birth to, told protestors: “it means so much to see the international community mobilise, support and raise awareness of what is happening in Italy. I am saying this on behalf of many others: it’s important to feel that we’re not alone.”
Luxardo added that she was worried when Meloni came to power, and when trying to register her daughter, who lives in the UK, she was unable to do so because the biological mum is British.
After a struggle, she said, she managed to register two mums.
“This is just the beginning”, she warned. “It is very stressful when the law does not have your back.”
‘As a mother, the priority is love’
Speaking of travelling home, she said: “I haven’t slept well since the start of the year. It’s very stressful, most of the media is state-owned so there is a censorship problem and the homophobia there is ramping up.
“Giorgia Meloni, raised by a solo-mom, mother yourself, why can’t you see the value and beauty of difference in society? Why hurt us like this, how can cruelty be justified in the name of a political strategy?
“As a mother, the priority is love, protection and respect for our children. Everything else is political demagoguery.”
‘It’s an abhorrent attack on our families’
Laura-Rose Thorogood, the founder of LGBT Mummies, told PinkNews that Meloni’s actions are wholly discriminatory.
“It’s an abhorrent attack on our families and, moreover, a human rights violation. The impact to those mothers, their children and the future families in our LGBTQ+ community is immeasurable.
“This is something no government globally have ever done before, and she is only focusing on the further exclusion and erasure of our families, rather than the impact on them.
“It’s a step towards the genocide of our community. Collectively we must come together – stronger together to ensure we fight for equity and equality as LGBTQ+ families in society.”
Stu Oakley, the co-author of The Queer Parent and a participant in podcast From Gay to Ze, told PinkNews that, as a gay adoptive father, he wanted to support the protest because it’s important that members of the community support one another.
“To actually have rights removed, that’s what’s so scary,” he says. “We all need to wake up to that.
“This is just the start with this government. It’s just the beginning: are they going to start taking away other rights? They could start taking away same-sex marriage.”
The Green Party’s equalities and diversity spokeswoman, Ria Patel, told PinkNews: “It’s really important to be supporting people who are having their rights taken away. What we’re seeing in Italy is a product of an extreme right-wing government and they shouldn’t be allowed to do this.”
Fellow Green Party member, Siân Berry, who is standing to replace the Green’s retiring Caroline Lucas at the next general election, adds: “I’ve known about the threats to the rights of lesbian mothers for a while. It’s good that it’s got that much attention.
“It’s great to be able to come along and shout about the fact that it’s unjust. It really needs to be reversed as it’s breaking up families already. I have relatives who would be in exactly the [same] position.”
Meloni’s government, Berry tells PinkNews, needs “to recognise that human rights are a bottom line, that if you want to be part of the international community, you need to recognise the rights of family life and this is stopping on that”.
After winning the election last year, Meloni, the leader of the right-wing Brothers of Italy party, signalled that she is preparing to roll back legislation on abortion rights and, while denying being homophobic, has expressed opposition to what she described as “gender ideology” and the “LGBT lobbies”.
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