REALity November, 2018                                                                 Ottawa, ON

Italy Returns to Pro-Life/Family Policies

A new coalition government was sworn into power in Italy in May, 2018.  The Coalition includes two parties:  The Five Star Movement (MSS) and the League Party.  The President of the Coalition is Sergio Mattarella and the Deputy Prime Minister is Matteo Salvini, both of whom are members of the Conservative League Party.

Since attaining power, the League Party has wasted little time introducing pro-life/ pro-family legislation.

  • Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has moved to amend Italian identity cards changing the words “parent 1” and “parent 2” to replace them with the words “mother” and “father”.
  • Italy’s new Family Minister, Lorenzo Fontana, a member of the League Party, has recommended that same-sex couples, who commission children to be born via surrogacy abroad, not be recognized as that child’s legal guardians. Under current Italian legislation, passed in 2016, same-sex couples were given the right to civil partnership, but were denied adoption rights.  Fontana states his objection to providing recognition to children born of same-sex surrogacy abroad is based on the fact that “A child must have a mother and a father”.

Senator Simone Pillon, also a member of the League Party, who had previously organized a “Family Day”, a yearly anti-gay-marriage event, and who often campaigned against what he describes as the “gay lobby”, has proposed legislation to revolutionize Italy’s divorce laws.  The law will abolish child support and remove custody from a parent who has alienated that child from his/her other parent.  The law authorizes co-parenting of children of divorced couples, whose children would spend the same amount of time living with each parent (currently young children tend to live with their mothers in Italy) – and each parent will pay for the children’s needs in taking care of them.  If one parent is unable to pay, the wealthier parent will pay for those needs directly, rather than writing a cheque to his or her ex-spouse.

This proposed law is supported by Italy’s governing coalition and has a good chance of passing both houses of Italy’s Parliament.

In a recent interview with the magazine, Vanity Fair Italy, Mr. Pillon said that he will soon be proposing a law that will punish women who falsely accuse their husbands of domestic violence.  Mr. Pillon, who is a lawyer and a registered family mediator, also plans to introduce mandatory family mediation for couples considering divorce.

The City of Verona, Italy, passed a motion in October proposed by City Council Member Alberto Zelger,  a member of the League Party, to declare that Verona be a “city in favour of life”, to finance local pro-life projects and to promote a regional project that allows pregnant women to anonymously give up their babies for adoption.

The motion was passed by 21 to 6 and was backed by the Mayor of Verona, Federico Sboarina, and by the leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, Carla Padovani.

Mr. Zelger’s motion also contains strong pro-life statements.  It states that the committee “acknowledges that the life of every person from conception until natural death should be welcomed and protected in all its aspects”.

The motion is also sharply critical of the abortion law, which was intended for exceptional cases and to prevent backstreet abortions, but, in reality, according to Mr. Zelger, has “contributed to the use of abortion as a mode of contraception”.  The new law will inform women of alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, economic help, psychological assistance and job supports.

World Congress of Families XIII, Verona, Italy

With such a positive turn to pro-life/family policies in Italy under the new coalition government, it is not surprising that the next World Congress of Families will be held in Verona, Italy, on March 29-31, 2019.  The Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini, and other local Italian leaders have met with Brian Brown, President of the International Organization for the Family (IOF) which organizes the World Congresses, and have offered to contribute financially to the Congress, an initiative which it enthusiastically supports.