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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Italy is battling to prevent homosexual couples from hiring surrogate mothers to conceive, carry and sell their babies for adoption.
While the historically Catholic country legalized same-sex civil unions under a center-left government in 2016, the conservative-led coalition headed by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is forcing local councils to stop registering the children of same-sex parents.
To halt the business in babies, Meloni's right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party tabled a bill in March that would make surrogacy a "universal crime," leaving Italian couples who have bought babies through surrogate mothers in foreign countries open to prosecution.
Italy has already banned the practice of gestazione per altri (gestation for others) for heterosexual and homosexual couples in 2004. IVF is only available for heterosexual couples, and LGBT couples do not have the right to adopt children.
According to Law No. 40, Art. 12, para. 6, "Anyone who, in any form, carries out, organizes or advertises the marketing of gametes or embryos or surrogacy of motherhood is punished with imprisonment from three months to two years and a fine from 600,000 to one million euros."
In March, the European parliament condemned Italy for stopping the Milan city council from registering the children of same-sex parents, arguing that the move "will inevitably lead to discrimination against not only same-sex couples but also primarily their children."
The European Union has stepped up its pressure on Italy after the Italian Senate voted on March 14 against a European Commission regulation for cross-border recognition of homosexual parents.
"We cannot open a door for something illegal here," Marco Scurria, FdI secretary of the European Policies Commission said. "There are a number of European same-sex couples that resort to surrogate pregnancies and recognizing them would overstep the ban."
The Italian Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Family, Eugenia Roccella, described the use of surrogacy as a "child market."
In December 2022, the EU issued a proposal for a regulation "on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition of decisions and acceptance of authentic instruments in matters of parenthood and on the creation of a European certificate of parenthood."
The formula is designed to facilitate the large-scale legal recognition of surrogate motherhood, which is currently prohibited in many European countries but would de facto have to be recognized by all member states.
Italy has joined the Visegrad Group — composed of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia — in refusing to transpose the regulation.
Catholic pro-life groups like Provita & Familia have issued petitions to garner support for the bill which would ban Italians from "procreative tourism" but have received little support from Pope Francis, the Italian bishops and the Pontifical Academy for Life.
While Francis condemned surrogacy as an "inhuman practice" at an audience for the directors of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations in June 2022, the pontiff openly showed support for a homosexual couple who had children by surrogacy.
Andrea Rubera and Dario De Gregorio, who are credited with convincing the pope that "homosexuals have the right to have a family," were "married" in Canada in 2009 and had three children in Canada through lesbian surrogate mother Kerilyn, Church Militant reported.
The Italian pair arranged for Rubera's sperm to first be used to create daughter Artemisia. This was followed by De Gregorio's sperm used in the reproduction of twins Chloe and Iacopo.
The homoparental duo applauded Francis for unconditionally welcoming them into the Church as a homosexual couple with children. In response to Rubera's letter asking if the family could attend church, Francis phoned Rubera, saying, "I'm Pope Francis. I called you twice, but you didn't answer. I read your letter. It's beautiful, and I understood your point of view."
"The pontiff's support for the law on civil unions, as told in the documentary presented at the Rome Film Festival [which included Rubera's testimony], is undoubtedly a welcome surprise," the Italian LGBT activist group Arcigay noted.
In January, Meloni ordered the return of the terms "father" and "mother" on identity documents. In 2015, the center-left government of Matteo Renzi replaced them with the generic "Parent 1" and "Parent 2."
In an interview with the Italian weekly women's magazine Grazia, Meloni cautioned Italian women against adopting, internalizing or submitting to gender ideology, warning that it will be "to the detriment of women" who have become "its first victims."
"Today, the unilateral right to proclaim oneself a woman or a man is being asserted by any method — surgical, pharmacological, or even administrative," the prime minister insisted. "Male and female are rooted in the body, and this is an incontrovertible fact."
In April, Italy refused to join a total of 15 European countries in legally opposing Hungary's Child Protection Law, which was attacked by leftists as being anti-LGBT.
Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Ireland, Denmark, Malta, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, France, Germany and Greece, together with the European Parliament, are supporting the lawsuit against Hungary filed by the European Commission.
The Hungarian law of June 2021 prohibits or heavily restricts depictions of homosexuality and gender reassignment in media content and educational material to audiences under 18 years of age.
The "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Replies to Certain Questions of the Day," issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, prohibits artificial insemination and surrogate pregnancy.
In 2014, Rome's mayor, Ignazio Marino, defied Italian law and registered the "marriages" of 16 homosexual couples who had "married" their same-sex partners abroad.