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Mayor of Rome orders removal of ‘homophobic’ anti-surrogacy billboards

Patrick Kelleher October 17, 2018
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The mayor of Rome has said that anti-surrogacy billboards, which specifically targeted gay male couples, should be removed after a public backlash in the city.

The billboards have been erected in Rome by pro-life organisation, ProVita, and show an image of a baby with a barcode, while a couple stand behind him, unaware of the child’s distress.

The caption with the billboard translates into English as: “Two men don’t make a mother.”

Virginia Raggi (Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty)

Mayor Virginia Raggi has ordered the removal of the billboards, saying they violate the city’s Regulations on Public Billposting.

“The exploitation of a child and a gay couple offends all citizens,” Raggi added.

The regulations mean that content that disrespects individual rights and liberties is not allowed.

The order for removal has been praised by LGBT+ groups in Rome, including Circle Mario Mieli and Rainbow Families, who said in a joint statement that they were “delighted” by the prompt decision.

Meanwhile, ProVita, which translates as “Pro-Life”, has accused the mayor of censoring their message.

President of the organisation, Antonio Brandi said in a statement that the person who is most offended is “the baby, put up for sale for gay couples… and destined to be snatched from the mother who gave birth to him.”

The President of another anti-LGBT+ organisation, Generation Family, said it was “LGBT totalitarianism.”

Surrogacy is currently illegal in Italy, however many couples travel overseas to have children.

One of these is Chiara Foglietta, a councillor in Turin, who used artificial insemination in Denmark to have a baby earlier this year. She and her partner Micaela Ghisleni welcomed their son, Niccolò Pietro, into the world on April 13.

Authorities subsequently refused to recognise their child, because Italy only allows straight couples to access fertility treatments.

Foglietta, who used sperm donated by an anonymous man, was presented with the possibility of lying about the child’s origins, but rejected this option.

On Facebook, the centre-left politician wrote that “the staff [at the public records office] tell me ‘you should declare that you had sex with a man, to get your boy registered.'”

Foglietta reacted to the news of the homophobic billboards in Rome by posting on Facebook: “Two people who love each other make a family.”

Same-sex marriage is also currently illegal in Italy, although civil unions are allowed.

A 2016 poll showed that most people supported civil unions for gay couples (69 percent), and a majority also expressed support for same-sex marriage (56 percent).

Elisabetta Villa/Getty

However, the same survey found that a minority approved of adoption and LGBT+ parenting, at just 37 percent.

Meanwhile, in August, Italy’s deputy prime minister said that gay couples were “unnatural”, and said he was firmly against both LGBT+ people being parents and being allowed to marry.

“Last week I was told that on the website of the Ministry of the Interior, on the forms for the electronic identity card there were ‘parent 1’ and ‘parent 2,’ he added.

“I immediately changed the site by restoring the definition ‘mother’ and ‘father.’

“It’s a small thing, a small signal, but it is certain that I will do all that is possible as minister of the interior in any case that is ruled by the constitution.”

Related topics: Europe, Italy

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