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Children of same-sex couples officially recognized in a first for Italy

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Children of same-sex couples officially recognized in a first for Italy
A rainbow flag is waved during a Gay Pride event in Rome. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
16:46 CEST+02:00
Three gay couples in the northern city of Turin have been able to legally register their children to both parents, in a first for Italy.

"Today an important page of history has been written," said the mother of one of the children, Turin councillor Chiara Foglietta.

Foglietta, who gave birth after undergoing artificial insemination in Denmark, said staff at the public records office had told her "no form exists" to recognize the child's birth through the procedure, which is subject to strict rules in Italy.

Instead, the staff reportedly told Foglietta she should declare that she had had the baby with a man. On Monday, the councillor said she "cried with joy" after signing the documents in which both she and her partner, Micaela Ghisleni, were recognized as parents of their son.

The couple's son Niccolò was one of four children who were officially registered to same-sex parents on Monday, with city mayor Chiara Appendino signing the birth certificates. The other families included two men who are fathers to twin boys, and another lesbian couple whose son was officially recognized.

Appendino, who had earlier vowed to "force the issue" after the registry's initial refusal to acknowledge the LGBT families, said the recognition was "a strong gesture in a legal vacuum".

Although the Five Star Movement mayor said that it was not yet possible to make a change at a legislative level, she said she hoped the recognition of these four children was a first step towards such a change.

On Twitter, Appendino wrote: "Today is one of the days when every drop of energy put into politics feels worth it."

"Niccolò Pietro came into the world because of mine and [Foglietta's partner] Micaela's desire. He is our son," Foglietta had written in an earlier Facebook post, saying she refused to lie on the form. "Every child has the right to know their own story, the entirety of the events that created them."

Italian laws over artificial insemination are strict, with many procedures including surrogacy, sperm or egg donation, and egg freezing all banned in the country. Fertility assistance is only offered to couples who fulfill certain conditions, including being heterosexual and proving the stability of their relationship. Foglietta travelled to Denmark for the procedure, where she received sperm from an anonymous donor.

Italy also lags behind much of Europe in terms of LGBT rights in general, according to the latest Rainbow Europe report in which the country scored just 27 percent in its protection for and rights granted to people identifying as LGBT.

Civil unions have been recognized since 2016, however that law could only be passed in a watered-down form, with a clause relating to stepchild adoption removed from the final version.

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